An Evaluation of Ozone Dry Deposition in Global Scale Chemistry Climate Models

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Catherine Hardacre, University of Lancaster, Lancaster, LA1, United Kingdom, Oliver Wild, University of Lancaster, Lancaster, United Kingdom and Lisa Emberson, University of York, Stockholm Environment Institute, York, United Kingdom
Dry deposition of atmospheric oxidants to the Earth's surface or vegetation is important as both a major removal pathway governing their atmospheric abundance and as a key input of oxidants and nutrients to sensitive vegetation surfaces. By linking the atmosphere and biosphere, dry deposition processes contribute to wider climate and Earth system feedbacks which need to be adequately quantified for a full understanding of Earth system responses. In addition, they have immediate policy-relevant implications for air quality, ecosystem health and crop productivity that need to be assessed on local, regional and global scales. In this study we use results from the recent Task Force on Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution (HTAP) model intercomparison to explore how dry deposition of ozone varies across 15 current atmospheric chemistry and transport models. While most models take a similar, resistances-based approach to parameterising dry deposition, there are substantial differences across the models in the magnitude and variability of the annual and monthly ozone deposition fluxes which contribute to the differences in modelled surface ozone and in the global tropospheric ozone budget. We find that the range in global ozone deposition flux over the HTAP model ensemble spans about 30% with deposition to ocean, grass land and tropical forests being particularly variable. Further, we compare modelled dry deposition of ozone to measurements made at a variety of locations in Europe and North America, noting differences of up to a factor of two but no clear systematic bias over the sites examined. We extend this analysis by running sensitivity studies to determine the importance of key parameters in the ozone dry deposition process, including soil moisture and leaf area index. This study provides an important first step towards quantifying the uncertainty in ozone dry deposition and permitting a more thorough, observation-based evaluation of this important process.