Effect of Climate Change on Air Quality
Winner, Darrel A.
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CitationJacob, Daniel J., and Darrel A. Winner. 2009. Effect of climate change on air quality. Atmospheric Environment 43(1): 51-63.
AbstractAir quality is strongly dependent on weather and is therefore sensitive to climate change. Recent studies have provided estimates of this climate effect through correlations of air quality with meteorological variables, perturbation analyses in chemical transport models (CTMs), and CTM simulations driven by general circulation model (GCM) simulations of 21st-century climate change. We review these different approaches and their results. The future climate is expected to be more stagnant, due to a weaker global circulation and a decreasing frequency of mid-latitude cyclones. The observed correlation between surface ozone and temperature in polluted regions points to a detrimental effect of warming. Coupled GCM–CTM studies find that climate change alone will increase summertime surface ozone in polluted regions by 1–10 ppb over the coming decades, with the largest effects in urban areas and during pollution episodes. This climate penalty means that stronger emission controls will be needed to meet a given air quality standard. Higher water vapor in the future climate is expected to decrease the ozone background, so that pollution and background ozone have opposite sensitivities to climate change. The effect of climate change on particulate matter (PM) is more complicated and uncertain than for ozone. Precipitation frequency and mixing depth are important driving factors but projections for these variables are often unreliable. GCM–CTM studies find that climate change will affect PM concentrations in polluted environments by ±0.1–1 μg m−3 over the coming decades. Wildfires fueled by climate change could become an increasingly important PM source. Major issues that should be addressed in future research include the ability of GCMs to simulate regional air pollution meteorology and its sensitivity to climate change, the response of natural emissions to climate change, and the atmospheric chemistry of isoprene. Research needs to be undertaken on the effect of climate change on mercury, particularly in view of the potential for a large increase in mercury soil emissions driven by increased respiration in boreal ecosystems.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3553961
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