M-TraCE: a new tool for high-resolution computation and statistical elaboration of backward trajectories on the Italian domain

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Air backward trajectory calculations are commonly used in a variety of atmospheric analyses, in particular for source attribution evaluation. The accuracy of backward trajectory analysis is mainly determined by the quality and the spatial and temporal resolution of the underlying meteorological data set, especially in the cases of complex terrain. This work describes a new tool for the calculation and the statistical elaboration of backward trajectories. To take advantage of the high-resolution meteorological database of the Italian national air quality model MINNI, a dedicated set of procedures was implemented under the name of M-TraCE (MINNI module for Trajectories Calculation and statistical Elaboration) to calculate and process the backward trajectories of air masses reaching a site of interest. Some outcomes from the application of the developed methodology to the Italian Network of Special Purpose Monitoring Stations are shown to assess its strengths for the meteorological characterization of air quality monitoring stations. M-TraCE has demonstrated its capabilities to provide a detailed statistical assessment of transport patterns and region of influence of the site under investigation, which is fundamental for correctly interpreting pollutants measurements and ascertaining the official classification of the monitoring site based on meta-data information. Moreover, M-TraCE has shown its usefulness in supporting other assessments, i.e., spatial representativeness of a monitoring site, focussing specifically on the analysis of the effects due to meteorological variables.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629 - 643
Number of pages15
JournalMeteorology and Atmospheric Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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