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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: model description paper 28 Jan 2019

Submitted as: model description paper | 28 Jan 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript was accepted for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

The Lagrangian particle dispersion model FLEXPART version 10.3

Ignacio Pisso1, Espen Sollum1, Henrik Grythe1, Nina Kristiansen1,a, Massimo Cassiani1, Sabine Eckhardt1, Delia Arnold2,3, Don Morton4, Rona L. Thompson1, Christine D. Groot Zwaaftink1, Nikolaos Evangeliou1, Harald Sodemann5, Leopold Haimberger6, Stephan Henne7, Dominik Brunner7, John F. Burkhart8, Anne Fouilloux8, Jerome Brioude9, Anne Philipp6,10, Petra Seibert11, and Andreas Stohl1 Ignacio Pisso et al.
  • 1Norwegian Institute of Air Research, Kjeller, Norway
  • 2Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, Vienna, Austria
  • 3Arnold Scientific Consulting, Manresa, Spain
  • 4Boreal Scientific Computing, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
  • 5Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Norway
  • 6Department of Meteorology and Geophysics, University of Vienna, Austria
  • 7EMPA, Dübendorf, Switzerland
  • 8Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Norway
  • 9LACy, Université de la Réunion, France
  • 10Aerosol Physics & Environmental Physics, University of Vienna, Austria
  • 11University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Institute of Meteorology, Vienna, Austria
  • anow at: Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK

Abstract. The Lagrangian particle dispersion model FLEXPART was in its original version in the mid-1990s designed for calculating the long-range and mesoscale dispersion of hazardous substances from point sources, such as released after an accident in a nuclear power plant. Over the past decades, the model has evolved into a comprehensive tool for multi-scale atmospheric transport modelling and analysis and has attracted a global user community. Its application fields have been extended to a large range of atmospheric gases and aerosols, e.g. greenhouse gases, short-lived climate forcers like black carbon, or volcanic emissions, and it has also been used to study the atmospheric branch of the water cycle. Given suitable meteorological input data, it can be used for scales from dozens of meters to the global scale. In particular, inverse modelling based on source-receptor relationships from FLEXPART has become widely used. In this paper, we present FLEXPART version 10.3, which works with meteorological input data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts' (ECMWF) Integrated Forecast System (IFS), and data from the United States' National Centers of Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Global Forecast System (GFS). Since the last publication of a detailed FLEXPART description (version 6.2), the model has been improved in different aspects such as performance, physico-chemical parametrizations, input/output formats and available pre- and post-processing software. The model code has also been parallelized using the Message Passing Interface (MPI). We demonstrate that the model scales well up to using 256 processors, with a parallel efficiency greater than 75 % for up to 64 processes on multiple nodes. The deviation from 100 % efficiency is almost entirely due to remaining non-parallelized parts of the code, suggesting large potential for further speed-up. A new turbulence scheme for the convective boundary layer has been developed that considers the skewness in the vertical velocity distribution (updrafts and downdrafts) and vertical gradients in air density. FLEXPART is the only model available considering both effects, making it highly accurate for small-scale applications, e.g. to quantify dispersion in the vicinity of a point source. The wet deposition scheme for aerosols has been completely rewritten and a new, more detailed gravitational settling parameterization for aerosols has also been implemented. FLEXPART has had the option for running backward in time from atmospheric concentrations at receptor locations since many years, but this has now been extended to work also for deposition values and may become useful, for instance, for the interpretation of ice core measurements. To our knowledge, to date FLEXPART is the only model with that capability. Furthermore, temporal variation and temperature dependence of chemical reactions with the OH radical have been included, allowing more accurate simulations for species with intermediate lifetimes against the reaction with OH, such as ethane. Finally, user settings can now be specified in a more flexible namelist format, and output files can be produced in NetCDF format instead of FLEXPART's customary binary format. In this paper, we describe these new developments. Moreover, we present some tools for the preparation of the meteorological input data and for processing of FLEXPART output data and briefly report on alternative FLEXPART versions.

Ignacio Pisso et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Ignacio Pisso et al.
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Latest update: 17 Aug 2019
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We present the latest release of the Lagrangian transport model FLEXPART, which simulates the transport, diffusion, dry and wet deposition, radioactive decay and first order chemical reactions of atmospheric tracers. The model has been recently updated, both technical and in the representation of physico-chemical processes. We describe the changes, document the most recent input and output files, provide working examples and introduce testing capabilities.
We present the latest release of the Lagrangian transport model FLEXPART, which simulates the...