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Recurrent U-Net: Deep learning to predict daily summertime ozone in the United States

We use a hybrid deep learning model to predict June-July-August (JJA) daily maximum 8-h average (MDA8) surface ozone concentrations in the US. A set of meteorological fields from the ERA-Interim reanalysis as well as monthly mean NO x emissions from the Community Emissions Data System (CEDS) inventory are selected as predictors. Ozone measurements from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Air Quality System (AQS) from 1980 to 2009 are used to train the model, whereas data from 2010 to 2014 are used to evaluate the performance of the model. The model captures well daily, seasonal and interannual variability in MDA8 ozone across the US. Feature maps show that the model captures teleconnections between MDA8 ozone and the meteorological fields, which are responsible for driving the ozone dynamics. We used the model to evaluate recent trends in NO x emissions in the US and found that the trend in the EPA emission inventory produced the largest negative bias in MDA8 ozone between 2010-2016. The top-down emission trends from the Tropospheric Chemistry Reanalysis (TCR-2), which is based on satellite observations, produced predictions in best agreement with observations. In urban regions, the trend in AQS NO 2 observations provided ozone predictions in agreement with observations, whereas in rural regions the satellite-derived trends produced the best agreement. In both rural and urban regions the EPA trend resulted in the largest negative bias in predicted ozone. Our results suggest that the EPA inventory is overestimating the reductions in NO x emissions and that the satellite-derived trend reflects the influence of reductions in NO x emissions as well as changes in background NO x . Our results demonstrate the significantly greater predictive capability that the deep learning model provides over conventional atmospheric chemical transport models for air quality analyses.