One way coupling of CMAQ and a road source dispersion model for fine scale air pollution predictions

Sean D. Beevers*, Nutthida Kitwiroon, Martin L. Williams, David C. Carslaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we have coupled the CMAQ and ADMS air quality models to predict hourly concentrations of NOx, NO2 and O-3 for London at a spatial scale of 20 m x 20 m. Model evaluation has demonstrated reasonable agreement with measurements from 80 monitoring sites in London. For NO2 the model evaluation statistics gave 73% of the hourly concentrations within a factor of two of observations, a mean bias of -4.7 ppb and normalised mean bias of -0.17, a RMSE value of 17.7 and an r value of 0.58. The equivalent results for O-3 were 61% (FAC2), 2.8 ppb (MB), 0.15 (NMB), 12.1 (RMSE) and 0.64 (r). Analysis of the errors in the model predictions by hour of the week showed the need for improvements in predicting the magnitude of road transport related NOX emissions as well as the hourly emissions scaling in the model. These findings are consistent with recent evidence of UK road transport NOX emissions, reported elsewhere. The predictions of wind speed using the WRF model also influenced the model results and contributed to the daytime over prediction of NOX concentrations at the central London background site at Kensington and Chelsea. An investigation of the use of a simple NO-NO2-O-3 chemistry scheme showed good performance close to road sources, and this is also consistent with previous studies. The coupling of the two models raises an issue of emissions double counting. Here, we have put forward a pragmatic solution to this problem with the result that a median double counting error of 0.42% exists across 39 roadside sites in London. Finally, whilst the model can be improved, the current results show promise and demonstrate that the use of a combination of regional scale and local scale models can provide a practical modelling tool for policy development at intergovernmental, national and local authority level, as well as for use in epidemiological studies. 

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)47-58
Number of pages12
Issue numberN/A
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • NOX
  • CMAQ
  • Air quality
  • Model evaluation
  • Road source modelling
  • London


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