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Atmospheric Composition

Description of the area

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. We address this goal through the development and use of the in-house Multiscale Nonhydrostatic AtmospheRe CHemistry model (MONARCH), and the European Community Earth System Model EC-Earth. The group is the research backbone of the well-known CALIOPE system, which provides high-resolution short-term air quality forecasts for Europe, with a special focus on Spain and its main urban areas using the in-house HERMES emission model. The group is also the research backbone of the WMO Regional Specialized Meteorological Center for Atmospheric Sand and Dust Forecast, the Barcelona Dust Regional Center.

Our models and forecasts are enhanced by an intensive use of up-to-date observations, both for model evaluation and to feed our aerosol ensemble-based data assimilation system. Our research focuses on urban air quality, and atmospheric chemistry and aerosols from regional to global scales, with an emphasis on mineral dust. 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 WMO Regional Center based at BSC, but also to widen the scope and relevance of the mineral dust research in the group.

The AC Group is structured around four interactive research teams:

  • Emissions (AC-EMIS)
  • Atmospheric chemistry and air quality (AC-CHEM)
  • Dust, aerosols and climate (AC-CLIM)
  • Data Assimilation, forecasting and applications (AC-DAFA)

We interact closely with the Computational Earth Sciences group on the optimization of model codes, pre- and post-processing tools, and operational model settings, with the Climate Variability and Change group on the links between atmospheric aerosols and climate, mainly in the framework of the EC-Earth model, and with the Earth System Services group to enhance the use of our forecasts products in key socio-economics sectors.

AC people

AC wiki index

Below is an index facilitating the navigation between the different wiki and external pages related to AC activities. Some of these links are related to the AC group itself, others are related to the different AC teams, others are related to the different AC cross-cutting working groups (WG).

  • AC group:
  • AC teams:
  • AC working groups:
    • WG Models (Wiki)
    • WG Observations and evaluation (Wiki)
    • WG Artificial intelligence for atmospheric composition (Wiki)
    • WG Operationals Evaluation meeting (Wiki)
    • WG Operationals Technical meeting (Wiki)


Starting at AC

On this page you will find information about the activities of the group, its organisation and its way to work.

How the AC group is structured? The AC group is structured into 4 teams - AC-EMIS (emissions), AC-CHEM (atmospheric chemistry and air quality), AC-CLIM (dust, aerosol and climate), AC-DAFA (data assimilation, forecasting and applications) - and 4 cross-cutting working groups (WG) - WG models, WG observations and evaluation, WG artificial intelligence, WG operationals.

How people work and interact? In their daily work:

  • (1) AC members find useful information on this wiki, including general information about the activities of the group or its teams, agenda and minutes of the meetings…;
  • (2) they use the AC group mailing list ( or AC team mailing lists (,,, for general communication. Newcomers should ask to be included in the mailing lists to team leaders;
  • (3) they use the Calendars at BSC and the AC calendar to schedule and participate to different meetings (in presential, online or hybrid), and the ACG-Holidays-Travels calendar to let other people know about availability. Newcomers should subscribe to the Department, AC and ACG-Holidays-Travels calendars;
  • (4) they use the BSC-ES department Gitlab for developing codes (in both individual and/or collective projects), reporting issues, requesting data download, or any type of discussion;
  • (5) they use Slack for fast communication (note that the history of the conversations on Slack is very limited, so use Gitlab for important discussions you want to keep track along time).

When do people meet? The AC group meetings occur on a monthly frequency. Then each AC team and each AC working group is organising regular meetings at a specific frequency (typically from 2 to 4 weeks). Regular AC-CES meetings are also organised. Besides the AC group meeting and their AC team meeting, each AC member is free to participate to the other aforementioned regular meetings, according to his/her interests (regularly or sporadically). All these regular meetings are advertized in the AC group calendar. More specifically, everyone is free to join the other team meetings (many research lines overlap different AC teams). On top of these regular meetings, additional meetings are typically organised around projects or group of projects.

Who should I contact if I have a question or issue? For questions or issues related to your computer, your email, your agenda, etc., you can contact Albert Vila Miró (by email at or on slack). For general questions or issues related to HPC, installation, modules, packages, etc., you can open an issue in the so-called request Gitlab. For any other questions or issues, you can ask on the department slack channel) or to the AC slack channel). If any doubt, simply ask your team leader on slack.

Models and tools developed in the group

Here is the list of models and tools developed in the group:

  • HERMES : emission model that includes its HERMESv3_GR global-regional version (Gitlab) and HERMESv3_BU bottom-up version (Gitlab), and its associated database HERMESv3_BU_data (Gitlab)
  • (NMMB-)MONARCH : weather-chemistry model (Gitlab)
  • EC-Earth3 : Earth system model v3 (Gitlab)
  • EC-Earth4 : Earth system model v4 (Gitlab)
  • CAMP : tool for flexible treatment of chemistry in atmospheric models (Gitlab)
  • CALIOPE : air quality model based on WRF/HERMES/CMAQ (Gitlab)
  • CALIOPE-urban : urban air quality component (Gitlab)
  • GHOST : harmonized observational database
  • Providentia : model evaluation tool (Gitlab)
  • Providentia-interpolation : interpolation tool for providentia (Gitlab)
  • NES (NetCDF for Earth Science, Gitlab) and SNES (Standard NES post-procES, Gitlab) : Python tools for reading, writing and postprocessing netCDF files at the Earth Sciences department

Running some of these models on High-Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructures requires building relatively complex pipelines. In the AC group, this is done using the autosubmit tool (ReadTheDocs) developed in the department. More specifically, this tool is adapted for each pipeline (named with the “auto-” prefix), including:

  • auto-hermes (Gitlab) : for running a combination of HERMESv3_GR/HERMESv3_BU/HERMESv3_BU_data
  • auto-monarch (Gitlab) : for running pipelines such as HERMES/MONARCH/Providentia-interpolation/SNES or HERMES/MONARCH-DA/Providentia-interpolation/SNES
  • auto-caliope (Gitlab) : for running pipelines such as WRF/HERMES/CMAQ/ISAM/SNES
  • auto-caliope-urban (Gitlab) : for running the caliope-urban component
  • auto-ecearth3 (Gitlab) : for running EC-Earth3
  • auto-snes (Gitlab) : for running SNES


  • AC : Atmospheric Composition
  • CALIOPE : CALIdad del aire Operacional Para España
  • CAMP : Chemistry Across Multiple Phases
  • CES : Computational Earth Sciences
  • CVC : Climate Variability and Change
  • ESS : Earth System Services
  • GHR : Global Health Resilience
  • HERMES : High-Elective Resolution Modelling Emission System
  • NES : NetCDF for Earth Science
  • NMMB : Nonhydrostatic Multiscale Model on the B grid
  • MONARCH : Multiscale Online Nonhydrostatic AtmospheRe CHemistry
  • SNES : Standard NES post-procES
  • WG : Working Group

working_groups/atmospheric_composition_group.txt · Last modified: 2024/04/11 08:02 by ojorba