The Influence of Short-Lived Ozone Precursor Emissions on Radiative Climate Forcing and Air Qualit

EPA Grant Number: FP917184
Title: The Influence of Short-Lived Ozone Precursor Emissions on Radiative Climate Forcing and Air Qualit
Investigators: Fry, Meridith McGee
Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: August 1, 2010 through July 31, 2013
Project Amount: $111,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Global Change


Regional reductions in ozone precursor emissions influence both global climate and air quality through changes in tropospheric ozone and methane concentrations. This research will assess the effects of changes in ozone precursor emissions on the net radiative forcing of climate and air quality as a function of emission location from various world regions. This research also aims to inform coordinated planning to improve air quality and reduce climate forcing.


Ozone, a tropospheric air pollutant and greenhouse gas, impacts both air quality and global climate. Although ozone is not emitted directly, short-lived ozone precursors influence ozone concentrations in the atmosphere. Regional reductions in ozone precursors can benefit climate and air quality in many world regions. This study assesses the effects of ozone precursor emissions on the radiative forcing of climate and air quality as a function of emission location from various source regions.


The initial phase will evaluate how reductions in emissions of short-lived ozone precursors, NOx, CO, and NMVOCs from four world regions (North America, Europe, East Asia, and South Asia), influence the net radiative forcing of climate. This study will utilize the Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution (HTAP) multimodel intercomparison study results and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory radiative transfer model to estimate the net radiative forcing as a function of the location of changes in ozone precursor emissions. Follow-on studies will be conducted using a global chemical transport model, MOZART-4, to evaluate potential climate mitigation strategies. By simulating ozone precursor emission reductions from many world regions, this study will determine the consequences on climate forcing, ozone and methane concentrations in the upper troposphere, long-range transport of ozone and its precursors, and human mortality.

Expected Results:

This research will quantify the consequences of short-lived ozone precursor emission reductions on global climate, air quality, and human health. The radiative forcing study of the HTAP simulations will show the relative contribution of each world region to the net radiative forcing due to regional changes in ozone precursor emissions. The results from the follow-on studies will indicate how climate and air quality can be improved through reductions in specific ozone precursors. This work will support the advancement of future policies that address air pollution and climate change concurrently. In addition, this research may motivate the inclusion of ozone precursors in future international climate change agreements.

Potential to Further Environmental/Human Health Protection:

Findings from this study have the potential to contribute to the development of future national and international air quality and climate policies that limit global change and protect human health and the environment. Before short-lived ozone precursors are included in future climate mitigation strategies, the relative influence of their emissions on climate forcing, air quality, and human health as a function of emission location needs to be better understood. This study aims to identify the opportunities and obstacles to include ozone precursor emission reductions in future agreements to slow global climate change and improve air quality concurrently.

Supplemental Keywords:

ozone, radiative forcing, climate change, air quality, long-range transport, climate mitigation, methane, carbon monoxide, atmospheric chemistry,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, Atmosphere, global change, green house gas concentrations, climate models, GHG, Global Climate Change

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2011
  • 2012
  • Final