Quantification of impact of climate uncertainty on regional air quality
1School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
2Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, MA, USA
3Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), Boston, MA, USA
4Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand
5Department of Advanced Technology Fusion, Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea
Abstract. Impacts of uncertain climate forecasts on future regional air quality are investigated using downscaled MM5 meteorological fields from the NASA GISS and MIT IGSM global climate models and the CMAQ model in 2050 in the continental US. Three future climate scenarios: high-extreme, low-extreme and base, are developed for regional air quality simulations. GISS, with the IPCC A1B scenario, is used for the base case. IGSM results, in the form of probabilistic distributions, are used to perturb the base case climate to provide 0.5th and 99.5th percentile climate scenarios. Impacts of the extreme climate scenarios on concentrations of summertime fourth-highest daily maximum 8-h average ozone are predicted to be up to 10 ppbv (about one-eighth of the current NAAQS of ozone) in some urban areas, though average differences in ozone concentrations are about 1–2 ppbv on a regional basis. Differences between the extreme and base scenarios in annualized PM2.5 levels are very location dependent and predicted to range between −1.0 and +1.5 μg m−3. Future annualized PM2.5 is less sensitive to the extreme climate scenarios than summertime peak ozone since precipitation scavenging is only slightly affected by the extreme climate scenarios examined. Relative abundances of biogenic VOC and anthropogenic NOx lead to the areas that are most responsive to climate change. Such areas may find that climate change can significantly offset air quality improvements from emissions reductions, particularly during the most severe episodes.