Regional modelling of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: WRF-Chem-PAH model development and East Asia case studies
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are hazardous pollutants, with increasing emissions in pace with economic development in East Asia, but their distribution and fate in the atmosphere are not yet well understood. We extended the regional atmospheric chemistry model WRF-Chem (Weather Research Forecast model with Chemistry module) to comprehensively study the atmospheric distribution and the fate of low-concentration, slowly degrading semivolatile compounds. The WRF-Chem-PAH model reflects the state-of-the-art understanding of current PAHs studies with several new or updated features. It was applied for PAHs covering a wide range of volatility and hydrophobicity, i.e. phenanthrene, chrysene and benzo[ a]pyrene, in East Asia. Temporally highly resolved PAH concentrations and particulate mass fractions were evaluated against observations. The WRF-Chem-PAH model is able to reasonably well simulate the concentration levels and particulate mass fractions of PAHs near the sources and at a remote outflow region of East Asia, in high spatial and temporal resolutions. Sensitivity study shows that the heterogeneous reaction with ozone and the homogeneous reaction with the nitrate radical significantly influence the fate and distributions of PAHs. The methods to implement new species and to correct the transport problems can be applied to other newly implemented species in WRF-Chem.