The Atmospheric Composition (AC) group aims at better understanding the chemical composition of the atmosphere and its effects upon air quality, weather and climate, while improving predictions from local to global scales. The AC group develops the Multiscale Online Non-hydrostatic AtmospheRe CHemistry model (MONARCH; previously known as NMMB/BSC-CTM). MONARCH contains advanced chemistry and aerosol packages, and is coupled online with the Non-hydrostatic Multiscale Model (NMMB), which allows for running either global or high-resolution (convection-allowing) regional simulations, and is coupled with an aerosol data assimilation system based on the Local Ensemble Transform Kalman Filter (LETKF).
The group contributes to a variety of forecasting activities. The dust component of MONARCH runs operationally at the first WMO Regional Specialized Meteorological Center for Atmospheric Sand and Dust Forecast (i.e., the Barcelona Dust Forecast Center, BDFC), and contributes to multi-model ensemble forecasts both at the WMO Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System Regional Center (WMO SDS-WAS RC) for Northern Africa, the Middle East and Europe, and the International Cooperative for Aerosol Prediction (ICAP). Both WMO Regional Centers are co-hosted by BSC and the Spanish Meteorological Agency (AEMET). The group also develops and maintains the CALIOPE air quality system (“CALIdad del aire Operacional Para España”), which provides high-resolution air quality forecasts over Europe and Spain using the in-house emission model HERMES. CALIOPE is currently based on the WRF meteorological model and the offline CMAQ chemistry model, and its transition to use MONARCH is in progress. The models and forecasts are enhanced by an intensive use of up-to-date observations, both for model evaluation and to feed the aerosol ensemble-based data assimilation system.
Since October 2016, the group hosts an AXA Chair on Sand and Dust Storms. This 15-year research programme is not only intended to support the two WMO SDS Regional Centers based at BSC, but also to widen the scope and relevance of the mineral dust research at BSC-ES. In October 2018 the AC group will start developing an ERC Consolidator Grant that focuses on dust mineralogy and its effects upon climate.