Mapping Emissions that Contribute to Air Pollution Using Adjoint Sensitivity Analysis

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Lucas A J Bastien1,2, Brian C Mcdonald1, Nancy J Brown2 and Robert Harley1, (1)University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, United States, (2)Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, United States
The adjoint of the Community Multiscale Air Quality model (CMAQ) is used to map emissions that contribute to air pollution at receptors of interest. Adjoint tools provide an efficient way to calculate the sensitivity of a model response to a large number of model inputs, a task that would require thousands of simulations using a more traditional forward sensitivity approach. Initial applications of this technique, demonstrated here, are to benzene and directly-emitted diesel particulate matter, for which atmospheric reactions are neglected. Emissions of these pollutants are strongly influenced by light-duty gasoline vehicles and heavy-duty diesel trucks, respectively.

We study air quality responses in three receptor areas where populations have been identified as especially susceptible to, and adversely affected by air pollution. Population-weighted air basin-wide responses for each pollutant are also evaluated for the entire San Francisco Bay area. High-resolution (1 km horizontal grid) emission inventories have been developed for on-road motor vehicle emission sources, based on observed traffic count data. Emission estimates represent diurnal, day of week, and seasonal variations of on-road vehicle activity, with separate descriptions for gasoline and diesel sources.

Emissions that contribute to air pollution at each receptor have been mapped in space and time using the adjoint method. Effects on air quality of both relative (multiplicative) and absolute (additive) perturbations to underlying emission inventories are analyzed. The contributions of local versus upwind sources to air quality in each receptor area are quantified, and weekday/weekend and seasonal variations in the influence of emissions from upwind areas are investigated. The contribution of local sources to the total air pollution burden within the receptor areas increases from about 40% in the summer to about 50% in the winter due to increased atmospheric stagnation. The effectiveness of control strategies based on region-wide exposure metrics is compared with strategies that focus on improving air quality at specific receptors.