Faculty Publications

Simulation Of Particulate Matter Distribution Over Iowa

Document Type


Journal/Book/Conference Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings


This paper discusses a Weather Research and Forecast Model with chemical processes (WRF-CHEM) that was used to simulate the transport of particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 micrometers (PM 2.5) over Iowa. These forecasts were compared to surface monitor measurements of PM 2.5 concentration and measurements of aerosol optical depth from the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectradiometer) sensor. Several episodes of high PM 2.5 concentrations during the years 2000 - 2003 were examined. A Box Model was used to estimate the relative size of transport processes to emissions and particulate mass tendency. Simulations of atmospheric conditions demonstrated overall satisfactory agreement with observed data, suggesting that WRF-CHEM could be used to simulate pollution movement and mixing. The average linear correlation coefficients between simulated and measured PM 2.5 concentrations for three cases examined more closely were found to be greater than those reported in the literature. Satellite and surface observations appeared to be in reasonable agreement with model predictions. Nevertheless, various uncertainties in PM simulation have been identified. Substantial underforecasting of surface PM 2.5 concentration was found. The Box Model budgets for particulate matter revealed relatively large residual components. Results of the present research may serve as a basis for further work with WRFCHEM on the dispersion of other pollutants (e.g., nitrogen compounds) and the contribution from adjacent states in the environmental engineering. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2006.


Department of Earth Science

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