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J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2005 Nov;55(11):1683-93.

Evaluation of multisectional and two-section particulate matter photochemical grid models in the Western United States.

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  • 1ENVIRON International Corporation, Novato, CA 94945, USA.


Version 4.10s of the comprehensive air-quality model with extensions (CAMx) photochemical grid model has been developed, which includes two options for representing particulate matter (PM) size distribution: (1) a two-section representation that consists of fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM2.5-10) modes that has no interactions between the sections and assumes all of the secondary PM is fine; and (2) a multisectional representation that divides the PM size distribution into N sections (e.g., N = 10) and simulates the mass transfer between sections because of coagulation, accumulation, evaporation, and other processes. The model was applied to Southern California using the two-section and multisection representation of PM size distribution, and we found that allowing secondary PM to grow into the coarse mode had a substantial effect on PM concentration estimates. CAMx was then applied to the Western United States for the 1996 annual period with a 36-km grid resolution using both the two-section and multisection PM representation. The Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) and Regional Modeling for Aerosol and Deposition (REMSAD) models were also applied to the 1996 annual period. Similar model performance was exhibited by the four models across the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) and Clean Air Status and Trends Network monitoring networks. All four of the models exhibited fairly low annual bias for secondary PM sulfate and nitrate but with a winter overestimation and summer underestimation bias. The CAMx multisectional model estimated that coarse mode secondary sulfate and nitrate typically contribute <10% of the total sulfate and nitrate when averaged across the more rural IMPROVE monitoring network.

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