In this study, the results for nitrate (NO3-) aerosol during winter from the first-phase model inter-comparison study of Japan's Study for Reference Air Quality Modeling (J-STREAM) were analyzed. To investigate the models' external and internal settings, the results were limited to Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) models. All submitted models generally underestimated NO3-over the urban areas in Japan (e.g., Osaka, Nagoya, and Tokyo); however, some model settings showed distinct behavior. The differences due to the model external settings were larger than the model internal settings. Emissions were an important factor, and emissions configured with lower NOx emissions and higher NH3 emissions led to a higher NO3-concentration as the NH3 was consumed under NH3-rich conditions. The model internal settings of the chemical mechanisms caused differences over China, and this could affect western Japan; however, the difference over Tokyo was lower. To obtain a higher NO3-concentration over the urban areas in Japan, the selection of the HONO option for the heterogenous reaction and the inline calculation of photolysis was desired. For future studies, the external settings of the boundary condition and the meteorological field require further investigation.
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