Assessment of the Impacts of Global Change on Regional U.S. Air Quality (External Review Draft)

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This report was prepared by the Global Change Research Program (GCRP) in the National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) of the Office of Research and Development (ORD) at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is intended for managers and scientists working on air quality to provide them with information on the potential effects of climate change on regional air quality in the United States.

The earth’s climate governs several of the natural processes that influence air quality. Climate change, along with other aspects of global change, including changes in population, land use and the technologies employed for energy production and transportation, may alter the capacity for US states to successfully attain the national air quality standards in the future. In 2000, the US EPA ORD Global Change Research Program (GCRP) initiated a research and assessment program devoted to the evaluation of the potential impact of global change on US air quality. The overall design of the research and assessment program benefitted from input provided by the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, several EPA Regional offices, and the climate change research community.

The EPA GCRP air quality research and assessment program is analyzing the complex role of global change processes in US air quality in two phases. The major effort undertaken in Phase 1 included the development of modeling tools that: 1) incorporate the physical and chemical links between global- and regional-scale meteorological processes to project future regional air quality, and; 2) account for changes in energy and transportation technologies in future air quality-related emissions. The regional air quality modeling results from this first effort, focusing primarily on the sensitivity of air quality to changing climate, are the subject of the 2007 GCAQ Interim assessment report. Phase 2 of this effort is focused upon the incorporation of possible national and regional population; land use, energy production and transportation technology scenarios with global climate scenarios with to produce integrated projections of the effects of global change on US air quality.

The ultimate goal of the EPA GCRP air quality research and assessment effort is to provide air quality managers with the scientific information and tools to evaluate the implications of global change for their programs – and enhance their ability to adapt to global change, if needed.


Following the external peer review of this report, at a public meeting in February 2008 in Research Triangle Park, NC, the final report reflecting the input of the expert review panel will be posted on the NCEA website.


U.S. EPA. Assessment of the Impacts of Global Change on Regional U.S. Air Quality (External Review Draft). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-07/094.


Sep 2000EPA releases a Draft strategy for the EPA Global Change Research Program.
Dec 2001EPA hosts a workshop, called EPA GCRP Air Quality Expert Workshop, in Research Triangle Park, NC.
May 2002EPA announces a STAR RFA -- Assessing the Consequences of Global Change for Air Quality: Sensitivity of U.S. Air Quality to Climate Change and Future Global Impacts.
Sep 2002EPA's Science Advisory Board completes the peer review.
Jan 2003EPA announces a STAR RFA -- Consequences of Global Change for Air Quality: Spatial Patterns in Air Pollution Emissions.
Sep 2003EPA releases the ORD/NRMRL Transportation Technology Assessment report.
Oct 2003EPA announces a STAR RFA -- Regional Development, Population Trend, and Technology Change Impacts on Future Air Pollution Emissions.
Apr 2004EPA annouces a STAR RFA -- Fire, Climate, and Air Quality.
Sep 2005EPA releases the ORD/NERL Regional Climate Downscaling report.
Mar 2006EPA announces the STAR RFA -- Consequences of Global Change For Air Quality.
Sep 2006EPA releases the ORD/NRMRL Energy Sector Technology Assessment report.
Oct 2006OMB reviews the ORD Global Change Research Program, including the Global Change and US Regional Air Quality assessment program.
Nov 2006EPA hosts a workshop called, Workshop on Uncertainty in the U.S. EPA Assessment of the Impact of Global Change on U.S. Air Quality, in Research Triangle Park, NC.
Feb 2007EPA hosts a STAR Global Change Research Progress Review meeting.
Jun 2007NCEA completes the first draft interim assessment report, with support of NRMRL, NCER and NERL.
Jul 2007NCEA releases the draft report for internal review.
Sep 2007EPA releases the ORD/NERL Air Quality Modeling report.
Jul 2008EPA releases the draft interim air quality assessment report for external peer review and public comment.

Additional Information

Comments on this report may be submitted and reviewed using the e-Government Web site. From the site, select Environmental Protection Agency and the keyword EPA-HQ-ORD-2007-0983 (for the docket ID) to comment on this report.