Haagen-Smit Prize awarded for WRF-Chem research
Dr. Georg Grell of the Global Systems Division (GSD) and Dr. Stuart McKeen and Dr. Gregory Frost of the Chemical Sciences Division (CSD) of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado have been awarded the 2016 Haagen-Smit Prize. The Haagen-Smit Prize recognizes outstanding papers published in the Elsevier journal Atmospheric Environment.
Grell, McKeen and Frost were authors on a 2005 paper entitled, Fully coupled 'online' chemistry within the WRF model. The fact that their paper was published in 2005 and was selected for this prestigious prize in 2016 shows its long-term influence in the field.
The simulation and prediction of air quality involves meteorological factors such as wind speed and direction, turbulence, radiation, clouds, and precipitation, and chemical processes such as deposition, and transformation. Historically, these complicated factors forced modeling systems to treat air quality and meteorology independently, known as "offline."
In this paper, the researchers describe how they integrated chemical processes into the existing Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model making it fully coupled and "online." The "WRF-Chem" air quality and meteorological components are consistent with each other and use the same transport scheme, the same grid, and the same physics schemes for subgrid-scale transport.
The 2005 paper also compared the WRF-Chem Model output with previous chemistry models and found it to be just as accurate in predicting photochemistry and emissions as previous models, while providing better forecasts of ozone and ozone precursors. Since the paper's publication in 2005, the WRF-Chem model has become the standard for research in air quality as well as research on impacts of aerosol and chemistry on numerical weather prediction. WRF-Chem is now a community model – support provided by GSD – and has more than 2000 users worldwide.
The Haagen-Smit Prize is named in honor of Prof. Arie Jan Haagen-Smit, a pioneer in the field of air pollution and one of the first editors of the International Journal of Air Pollution, which proceeded Atmospheric Environment. Experts in the field submit nominations of previously published papers, and an international committee selects two winning papers each year.