Source-oriented model for air pollutant effects on visibility


  • A. Eldering,

  • G. R. Cass


A source-oriented model for air pollutant effects on visibility has been developed that can compute light scattering, light extinction, and estimated visual range directly from data on gas phase and primary particle phase air pollutant emissions from sources. The importance of such a model is that it can be used to compute the effect of emission control proposals on visibility-related parameters in advance of the adoption of such control programs. The model has been assembled by embedding several aerosol process modules within the photochemical trajectory model previously developed for aerosol nitrate concentration predictions by Russell et al. [1983] and Russell and Cass [1986]. These modules describe the size distribution and chemical composition of primary particle emissions, the speciation of organic vapor emissions, atmospheric chemical reactions, transport of condensible material between the gas and the particle phases, fog chemistry, dry deposition, and atmospheric light scattering and light absorption. Model predictions have been compared to observed values using 48-hour trajectories arriving at Claremont, California, at each hour of August 28, 1987, during the Southern California Air Quality Study. The predicted fine particle concentration averages 62 μg m−3 compared to an observed value of 61 μg m−3, while predicted PM10 concentrations average 102 μg m−3 compared to an observed average of 97 μg m−3. The size distribution and chemical composition predictions for elemental carbon, sulfate, and sodium ion agree with observations to within plus or minus a few micrograms per cubic meter, while ammonium and nitrate concentrations are underpredicted by the base case model by 3 to 7 μg m−3 on average. Light-scattering coefficient values are calculated from the predicted aerosol size distribution and refractive index, and the model predictions agree with measured values on average to within 19%. The advantages and limitations of the modeling procedure are discussed.