We show results from a variety of assimilation test experiments, highlighting the improvements in the representation of model species concentrations by up to 50% compared to an assimilation-free control experiment. Taking into account the rapid chemical cycling of NO2 when applying the assimilation increments greatly improves assimilation skills for NO2 and provides large benefits for model concentrations near the surface. Analysis of the geospatial distribution of the assimilation increments suggest that the free-running model overestimates biomass burning emissions but underestimates lightning NOx emissions by 5-20%.
We discuss the capability of the chemical data assimilation system to improve atmospheric composition forecasts through improved initial value and boundary condition inputs, particularly during air pollution events. We find that the current assimilation system meaningfully improves short-term forecasts (1-3 day). For longer-term forecasts more emphasis on updating the emissions instead of initial concentration fields is needed.