Probabilistic Forecasting of Surface Ozone with a Novel Statistical Approach

Balashov, N. V., A. M. Thompson, and G. S. Young (2017), Probabilistic Forecasting of Surface Ozone with a Novel Statistical Approach, J. Appl. Meteor. Climat., 56, 297-316, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-16-0110.1.

The recent change in the Environmental Protection Agency’s surface ozone regulation, lowering the surface ozone daily maximum 8-h average (MDA8) exceedance threshold from 75 to 70 ppbv, poses significant challenges to U.S. air quality (AQ) forecasters responsible for ozone MDA8 forecasts. The forecasters, supplied by only a few AQ model products, end up relying heavily on self-developed tools. To help U.S. AQ forecasters, this study explores a surface ozone MDA8 forecasting tool that is based solely on statistical methods and standard meteorological variables from the numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. The model combines the self-organizing map (SOM), which is a clustering technique, with a stepwise weighted quadratic regression using meteorological variables as predictors for ozone MDA8. The SOM method identifies different weather regimes, to distinguish between various modes of ozone variability, and groups them according to similarity. In this way, when a regression is developed for a specific regime, data from the other regimes are also used, with weights that are based on their similarity to this specific regime. This approach, regression in SOM (REGiS), yields a distinct model for each regime taking into account both the training cases for that regime and other similar training cases. To produce probabilistic MDA8 ozone forecasts, REGiS weighs and combines all of the developed regression models on the basis of the weather patterns predicted by an NWP model. REGiS is evaluated over the San Joaquin Valley in California and the northeastern plains of Colorado. The results suggest that the model performs best when trained and adjusted separately for an individual AQ station and its corresponding meteorological site.

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Research Program: 
Tropospheric Composition Program (TCP)