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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Emission Reductions Aimed at Improving Air Quality: Unintended Climatic Consequences and the Effect of Climate Change on their Success

EPA Grant Number: FP916983
Title: Emission Reductions Aimed at Improving Air Quality: Unintended Climatic Consequences and the Effect of Climate Change on their Success
Investigators: Leibensperger, Eric
Institution: Harvard University
EPA Project Officer: Jones, Brandon
Project Period: September 1, 2008 through September 1, 2010
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2008)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships



Emission reduction strategies aimed at lowering the atmospheric burdens of particulates and surface ozone are continuously being updated and modified. My study investigates the effect climate change will have on the success of these efforts to reduce surface pollution in the United States. My study will also identify the role U.S. particulate emissions have had on the regional and global climate and the effects future emission reductions will incur.


I will use observed surface ozone concentrations and assimilated meteorology to relate the interannual variability in the number of exceedances of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards to the interannual variability in the number of mid-latitude cyclones traversing across North America and the number of stagnant days. I will use this relationship to investigate the effect recent climate change has had on the success of ozone precursor emission reductions. I will diagnose the potential implications of future climate change on pollutant transport by conducting general circulation model simulations with an inert tracer of pollution.

I will also conduct sensitivity simulations using GEOS-Chem, a global chemical transport model, and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) general circulation model (GCM). Simulations with historical and future projections of U.S. SO2, elemental carbon, and organic carbon from GEOS-Chem will provide aerosol concentrations, which will be used to calculate the aerosol direct and indirect effects in the GCM simulations. The sensitivity simulations will allow for analysis of the role U.S. aerosols have on North American and global climate and what impacts reductions in particulate emissions will have.

Expected Results:

This work will provide improved understanding of the role of climate change, both in the recent past and future, on the success of pollutant control strategies, allowing for better planning and accountability of emission reductions. This work will also provide a quantitative assessment of the role U.S. emissions of sulfur, elemental carbon, and organic carbon compounds have on the regional and global climate.

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Air, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Atmosphere

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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