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. 2013 Dec 17;47(24):14258-66.
doi: 10.1021/es403446m. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

The Ozone-Climate Penalty: Past, Present, and Future

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Free PMC article

The Ozone-Climate Penalty: Past, Present, and Future

D J Rasmussen et al. Environ Sci Technol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Climate change is expected to increase global mean temperatures leading to higher tropospheric ozone (O3) concentrations in already polluted regions, potentially eroding the benefits of expensive emission controls. The magnitude of the "O3-climate penalty" has generally decreased over the past three decades, which makes future predictions for climate impacts on air quality uncertain. Researchers attribute historical reductions in the O3-climate penalty to reductions in NOx emissions but have so far not extended this theory into a quantitative prediction for future effects. Here, we show that a three-dimensional air quality model can be used to map the behavior of the O3-climate penalty under varying NOx and VOC emissions in both NOx-limited and NOx-saturated conditions in Central and Southern California, respectively. Simulations suggest that the planned emissions control program for O3 precursors will not diminish the O3-climate penalty to zero as some observational studies might imply. The results further demonstrate that in a NOx-limited air basin, NOx control strategies alone are sufficient to both decrease the O3-climate penalty and mitigate O3 pollution, while in a NOx-saturated air basin, a modified emissions control plan that carefully chooses reductions in both NOx and VOC emissions may be necessary to eliminate the O3-climate penalty while simultaneously reducing base case O3 concentrations to desired levels. Additional modeling is needed to determine the behavior of the O3-climate penalty as NOx and VOC emissions evolve in other regions.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
(a) Historical and projected average daily anthropogenic NOx (yellow) and VOC (gray) emissions (tons day−1) versus emissions year for the South Coast Air Basin and (b) the observed decadal trend in the O3-climate penalty for the Southern California Air Basin attributed to emissions changes during the 1980s (orange), the 1990s (green), and the 2000s (blue). Dashed lines give the range of both observed and modeled O3-climate penalty values in the South Coast Air Basin from the literature; solid squares are the mean O3-climate penalty calculated from values given in the literature. Symbols beneath each range correspond to literature references: † is Mahmud et al., 2008 (statistical downscaling based on measured trends), § is Steiner et al., 2010 (observations), ¶ is Kleeman, 2008 (model perturbation), # is Millstein and Harley, 2009, (model perturbation), and ‡ is Steiner et al., 2006 (model perturbation); (c) as for (a) but for the San Joaquin Valley; (d) as for (b) but for the San Joaquin Valley.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Isopleths of 8 hr. average O3 (ppb)(solid black lines) and O3-climate penalty (ppb K−1)(colors) generated from a −5 K temperature perturbation for (a) Downtown Los Angeles, (b) Azusa, (c) Claremont, and (d) Anaheim. All calculations are for the conditions on September 8–9, 1993. Estimated anthropogenic emissions trend relative to the 1993 base year is shown as a dashed black line. A different color scale is used for each panel.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Isopleths of 8 hr. average O3 (ppb)(solid black lines) and O3-climate penalty (ppb K−1)(colors) generated from a −5 K temperature perturbation for (a) Hanford, (b) Fresno, (c) Bakersfield, and (d) Visalia. All calculations are for the conditions on July 27, 2005. Estimated anthropogenic emissions trend relative to the 2005 base year is shown as a dashed black line. A different color scale is used for each panel.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Historical (colored markers) and modeled O3-climate penalty (ppb K−1) for emissions years from 1985 to 2020 for the South Coast Air Basin (SoCAB) (left) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin (SJV) (right). The box-and-whisker plots (mean minus the standard deviation, 25th, 50th, 75th, and mean plus the standard deviation) give statistics of the modeled O3-climate penalty at 26 urban receptors in the South Coast Air Basin and at 18 urban receptors in the San Joaquin Valley (see supporting information, Fig. S1). Values greater or less than the mean ± the standard deviation are shown as crosses. All modeled calculations are for the conditions on September 8–9, 1993 (SoCAB) and July 27, 2005 (SJV).

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