In a series of experiments we issue forecasts of fine aerosol concentration over the coterminous USA and southern Canada using the Weather Research and Forecasting – Chemistry model initialized with 3D-VAR or ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) assimilation methods. Assimilated observations include surface measurements of fine aerosols from the United States Environmental Protection Agency AIRNow Data Exchange program. Evaluation statistics calculated over a month-and-half-long summer period demonstrate the advantage of EnKF over 3D-VAR and point to the limitations of applying a simple aerosol parameterization for predicting air quality over the forecast area. Strategies for further improvement of forecasting aerosol concentrations are discussed.
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