Online coupled regional meteorology-chemistry models in Europe: current status
Online coupled mesoscale meteorology atmospheric chemistry models have undergone a rapid evolution in recent years. Although mainly developed by the air quality modelling community, these models are also of interest for numerical weather prediction and regional climate modelling as they can consider not only the effects of meteorology on air quality, but also the potentially important effects of atmospheric composition on weather. Two ways of online coupling can be distinguished: online integrated and online access coupling. Online integrated models simulate meteorology and chemistry over the same grid in one model using one main time step for integration. Online access models use independent meteorology and chemistry modules that might even have different grids, but exchange meteorology and chemistry data on a regular and frequent basis. This article offers a comprehensive review of the current research status of online coupled meteorology and atmospheric chemistry modelling within Europe. Eighteen regional online coupled models developed or being used in Europe are described and compared. Topics discussed include a survey of processes relevant to the interactions between atmospheric physics, dynamics and composition; a brief overview of existing online mesoscale models and European model developments; an analysis on how feedback processes are treated in these models; numerical issues associated with coupled models; and several case studies and model performance evaluation methods. Finally, this article highlights selected scientific issues and emerging challenges that require proper consideration to improve the reliability and usability of these models for the three scientific communities: air quality, numerical meteorology modelling (including weather prediction) and climate modelling. This review will be of particular interest to model developers and users in all three fields as it presents a synthesis of scientific progress and provides recommendations for future research directions and priorities in the development, application and evaluation of online coupled models.