U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development
National Center for Environmental Research
Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program


Recipients List

Consequences of Global Change for Air Quality: Spatial Patterns in Air Pollution Emissions

Opening Date: January 7, 2003
Closing Date: April 9, 2003

Summary of Program Requirements
Specific Areas of Interest
Standard Instructions for Submitting an Application
Sorting Code

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Program Title: Assessing the Consequences of Global Change for Air Quality: Spatial patterns in air pollution emissions

Synopsis of Program:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications for research into the consequences of global change for air quality that will provide information of value to the atmospheric sciences, global change, and regional air quality research communities.

EPA is particularly interested in three related topics of inquiry: (1) Changes in the spatial distribution of stationary source emissions due to regional development patterns and technology changes; (2) Changes in the spatial distribution of mobile source emissions due to the interactions between climate, land-use, and technology change and regional transportation systems; and (3) Changes in the spatial distribution and quantity of biogenic emissions due to land-use, vegetation, and climate changes.

Contact Person(s):

Darrell Winner, 202-564-6929; email: winner.darrell@epa.gov

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s): 66.509

Eligibility Information:
Academic and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and state or local governments are eligible to apply for assistance under this program.

Award Information:

Anticipated Type of Award: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately 12-15
Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $8 million
Potential Funding per Award per Year: Up to $250,000 per year for up to 3 years
Limitations: Requests over $750,000 total will not be considered

Sorting Code(s):
The sorting codes for applications submitted in response to this solicitation are

2003-STAR-D1 for part 1, “Changes in the spatial distribution of stationary source emissions,”

2003-STAR-D2 for part 2, “Changes in the spatial distribution of mobile source emissions,” and

2003-STAR-D3 for part 3, “Changes in the spatial distribution and quantity of biogenic emissions.”

Deadline/Target Dates:
Letter of Intent Due Date(s): None
Application Proposal Due Date(s): April 9, 2003


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), in cooperation with the EPA Global Change Research Program, announces an extramural funding competition supporting research into the consequences for air quality of global change - including climate, climate variability, land-use, economic development, and technology. EPA is interested in analysis of pollutant emissions related to tropospheric ozone and particulate matter formation that may be altered by future global changes. A better understanding of the consequences of global change for regional air quality will be useful for both fully accounting for the impacts of global change and for state and local government emission control strategies to meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone and particulate matter.

The location and design of new development can affect the level of impact it has on the environment. For example, the physical characteristics and patterns of land development in a region can affect air quality by influencing travel mode choices, trips, trip speed, number of miles driven, and therefore mobile source emissions. Characteristics of urban form that have been found to affect trip making include: density, mix of land uses, transit accessibility, pedestrian environment/urban design factors, and regional patterns of compactness with a jobs/housing balance (e.g. US EPA, 2001). There is also increasing interest in developing "smart growth" strategies (e.g., compact, mixed-use development with a variety of transportation options and pedestrian-oriented urban form) in order to improve air quality by reducing overall auto-related emissions.

Emissions from stationary air pollution sources, such as power plants and factories, will also be affected by the characteristics and patterns of land development. In addition, economic growth, changes in the composition of economic output (GDP), and technological change have the potential to affect both the total amount and spatial distribution of stationary source emissions. Economic growth is unlikely to proceed at the same rate in all locations across the US. Increases in activity in the services sector, decreases in manufacturing, and other sector changes are unlikely to be geographically uniform and as these sectors have differing emissions characteristics, the spatial pattern of emissions is likely to change. Similarly, the diffusion of new and improved technologies over time will have consequences for the amount and spatial distribution of emissions.

Land use and vegetation are known to influence the natural emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC), carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen (Guenther et al., 2000). On a global scale these biogenic emissions exceed similar anthropogenic emissions, although anthropogenic sources can dominate within urban areas. However, there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding estimates of biogenic emissions. Moreover, little is known concerning precisely how these emissions change in response to climatic and vegetation changes. Additional research is needed to determine how climate changes (e.g., temperature) and land cover changes (e.g., conversion of forests to open grasslands, reforestation, etc.) affect biogenic emissions and how to incorporate these changes into emissions models.

An important feature of this research is the long time frame (50 to 100 years) involved when considering global change. In general, the current tools used to estimate emissions do not have the capability to capture such long-term changes. For example, it is entirely reasonable when estimating next year's emissions to assume that communities, roads, factories, and trees will be in the same locations and look much the same as they do today. However, 50 years from now this assumption is unlikely to hold true. As a result, it is necessary to either develop new or augment existing models to project emissions. A key goal of this research is improved methods to allocate emissions spatially. Methods are needed to allow the spatial allocation algorithms to change over time in response to movements of economic activities, communities, and roads.


This Request for Applications (RFA) complements global change research programs in EPA Laboratories and Centers as well as the objectives of the EPA Office of Air and Radiation relating to regional air quality. The overall framework for assessing the potential consequences of global changes on air quality in this RFA is the Global Change Research Strategy (https://www.epa.gov/research/htm/researchstrategies.htm).

EPA's Global Change Research Program (https://www.epa.gov/globalresearch/) is assessing the potential consequences of global changes for human health, ecosystems, and social well-being in the United States. The Program focuses on four major areas consistent with EPA’s mission: human health, aquatic ecosystems, water quality and air quality. The atmospheric sciences community has begun to recognize that climate and air quality are linked through atmospheric chemical, radiative, and dynamic processes at multiple scales. The results of a limited number of studies of the relationship between weather and ozone concentrations, the effects of temperature on atmospheric chemistry, and the sensitivity of emissions to weather and land use suggest that global change could adversely affect air quality.

The long-term goals of the EPA Global Change Research Program include:

  • Devising approaches, methods and models to quantitatively assess the effects of global change, including climate and land use change, on regional air quality
  • Quantifying the effects of global change on emissions and air quality, as well as any systems feedbacks
  • Identifying relevant technological advances and adaptive responses
  • Developing and applying tools to integrate and quantify global change effects across all environmental media.

An assessment framework for addressing atmospheric change has been developed (see Figure 1). Improving our understanding of linkages between climate, atmospheric chemistry, and global air quality and our ability to assess future states of the atmosphere will require coupling local- and regional-scale air quality models with global-scale climate and chemistry models. At the same time, there is an ongoing need to improve our understanding of how meteorology affects specific processes. EPA NCER is planning with the other ORD Laboratories and Centers to collaboratively support the research necessary to assess the potential consequences of global change for air quality. This research solicited through the RFA will improve our knowledge and methods for projecting regional emissions.


The focus of this RFA is on the Regional Emissions component of Figure 1 (see above).

Proposals must demonstrate the feasibility of new methods. An important goal is to produce methods for creating plausible North American emission scenarios for air quality models such as the Models-3 Community Multiscale Air Quality model (CMAQ, https://www.epa.gov/asmdnerl/models3) for 50 years into the future. For air quality modeling purposes, future regional emission scenarios are needed at the resolution of 36 km x 36 km grids, with finer resolution desirable in urban regions or areas of complex terrain. To the extent possible, future emission scenarios should be consistent with the continental scale emissions scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Special Report Emissions Scenarios (SRES) (http://www.ipcc.ch/pub/sres-e.pdf) Exit , but not be overly restricted to them because of the regional and local concentration of anthropogenic emission sources. Because of the assumptions implicit in modeling of emissions, it is important to document the spatial and temporal allocation methods developed, and the basis and uncertainty in future emission scenarios, including location and quantities. It is likely that a range of emission scenarios will be needed to realistically allow for uncertainties.

Successful proposals for this solicitation will address one or more of the following three research topics:

1. Changes in the spatial distribution of stationary source emissions due to regional development patterns and technology changes.

This topic includes research on the drivers of anthropogenic air pollutant emissions, and how they will change and be manifested spatially over time across North America. Research should account for land use, technology, and possible public policy changes in the development of future year (2050-2100) emission scenarios. Because there are many categories of anthropogenic pollution sources, it may be prudent to focus on those large emission sectors likely to experience the greatest changes. Currently, most emission data for the United States are estimated and aggregated by state and county. Besides electric generating units, few emission sources are reported by their specific location. Instead, they are spatially allocated to grids used by air quality modelers by means of Geographic Information System-based coverage files of surrogate data thought to be related to the emissions. For example, emissions from residences may be spatially allocated by a geographic coverage of population data. This approach is more difficult to apply when addressing future emissions, where both the emissions and spatial surrogate data change. Consequently, research on methods of spatially allocating future year emissions is needed as part of responding to research questions concerning spatial distribution of future emissions.

Example research questions for spatial patterns of future stationary source emissions include:

  • How would urban-rural population shifts, the use of smart growth approaches, and climate change affect the spatial distribution and amount of air pollution emissions?
  • How would technological change (including both the rate of technological change and diffusion), affect the amount and spatial allocation of anthropogenic emissions?
  • How would changes in sectors of the economy, for example shifts within and between manufacturing, service, and agriculture sectors, affect the amount and spatial distribution of air pollution emissions? Could climate change affect the economic changes and how can this be accounted for when spatially allocating emissions?

2. Changes in the spatial distribution of mobile source emissions due to the interactions between climate, land-use, and technology change and regional transportation systems.

EPA is seeking proposals that address gaps in the methodologies for assessing the impact of long-term changes (e.g., climate, land use, economic activity, technology improvements) on the transportation sector and resultant air pollutant emissions. The spatial and temporal distribution of transportation activities and emissions are of key concern. For example, regional development patterns (housing, roads, commercial development, mass transit systems) will likely be heterogeneous across the country, affecting both the amount and spatial distribution of air pollution emissions from mobile sources. Similarly, improved automobile engines will likely diffuse into the nation's fleet over time and will penetrate faster in some areas than in others. Understanding the process of technological diffusion will improve our ability to estimate air pollutant emissions.

In order to develop more accurate long-term (e.g., to 2050 and 2100) emissions projections, current energy modeling systems on which aggregate forecasts of emissions are based will need to incorporate or develop better methods to project changes in a wide range of key driver and policy variables, including transportation infrastructure investments, regional development patterns (e.g., sprawl, Smart Growth), transportation modal choices (and other lifestyle factors), air quality and climate policies, and population movements, in addition to technological change, which has been the focus of much recent work. Furthermore, methodologies will need to be developed to spatially distribute the emissions resulting from these kinds of inputs across North America. In addition, mobile source emissions may also be affected by changes in climate directly (e.g., increased temperatures result in higher evaporative emissions) and indirectly (e.g., warmer weather may lead to people taking more trips, using air conditioners more).

Example research questions for mobile source emissions include:

  • What methods can be used to project changes in land-use and activity locations (either caused by transportation infrastructure investments or otherwise) and how can they be incorporated in models that represent mobile source emissions? How might these models be improved to better reflect lifestyle and policy factors that drive vehicle miles traveled?
  • What are the important forces driving the transportation-relevant scenarios for economic, population, and land-use changes for the 2050 time horizon on local, state, and regional scales? How can the spatial and temporal specificity of these scenarios be improved?
  • How might spatial redistribution of activities and changes in land-use influence investments in transportation infrastructure and technology? Conversely, how might investment choices in transportation infrastructure and technology influence changes in spatial distribution of activities and land-use change?
  • How will changes in climate (e.g. warmer temperatures or changes in humidity) affect emissions factors for pollutants from vehicles, refueling stations and fuel delivery systems? How will climate change affect the propensity to travel (both in aggregate and propensity to travel by particular modes)?
  • What is the nature of the linkage between growth in GDP and growth in transportation activity? What types of investments (e.g., transportation infrastructure, information technology) and policies are likely to lead to changes in this relationship? Will the impacts of present-day movements such as Smart Growth and the New Urbanism be significant enough to affect the linkage between transportation and economic growth, and, if so, under what circumstances?

3. Changes in the spatial distribution and quantity of biogenic emissions due to land-use, vegetation, and climate changes

This topic includes research that addresses methodologies for assessing changes in biogenic emissions due to long-term changes in land-use, vegetation, and climate. Land use and vegetation are known to influence the natural emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC), carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) (Guenther, 2000). Biogenic VOC emissions are also the largest source of global secondary organic aerosol (SOA). Little is known concerning how climate and land-use change may affect biogenic SOA production.

Previous research findings suggest a range of continental-scale natural ecosystem response (e.g., Soloman et al, 1993; VEMAP, 1995) as well as more regional, species-specific responses (e.g. Solomon and Bartlein, 1992; Lassiter, et al., 2000) to climate change scenarios. In contrast, there has been limited modeling regarding future patterns of land use and vegetation change (e.g., due to regional development or wildfire management strategies) in combination with climate-driven natural and managed vegetation change (Zuidema et al, 1994; Alcamo et al., 1996).

Existing biogenic emissions models have been used to estimate biogenic emissions using highly-resolved meteorological (1 hr/32 km) and land use/land cover (1 km) data (e.g., Geron et al., 1994; Pierce et al., 1998). Vegetation types and climatic variables, such as temperature and solar radiation, strongly influence the rate of emitted biogenic compounds. Although biogenic emissions can make a significant contribution to total VOC emissions (e.g., estimated biogenic VOC emissions comprise over half of the national annual inventory), a high degree of uncertainty is associated with these estimates, including how they respond to changes in weather variables. Biogenic emission model requirements for expanded species detail at relatively fine spatial resolution add to the challenge of developing emission scenarios for future climate conditions.

Example research questions for biogenics include:

  • What methods can be used to credibly project changes in the main drivers of land-use changes over long-time frames (e.g., to 2050 and beyond)? What are resulting patterns of land use (e.g., percent urban, agricultural, forest, etc.) in North America?
  • What are the implications of future patterns of urban growth and transportation networks and future climate change for agricultural, natural and managed vegetation species, range and health? What are the potential effects of urban reforestation?
  • What effects will predicted changes in climate (temperature, precipitation, drought, solar radiation), local air pollution, and landcover have on ecosystem and species-level biogenic VOC emissions? How will these factors, combined with changes in fertility management, impact soil NOX fluxes?
  • How will fire management and changes in wildfire distribution and intensity, along with plantation forestry, selective harvesting, and agricultural policy/practice, affect VOC and NOx emissions? How will PM2.5 emissions and precursors to SOA be impacted?
  • What uncertainties in current knowledge and biogenic VOC and NOx modeling systems limit the ability to use emissions algorithms to extrapolate biogenic emissions under future conditions? Can current light/temperature algorithms and emission factors be applied to vegetation growing in warmer, higher CO2 environments as has been attempted by Constable et al. (1999) and others?


Alcamo, J., E. Kreileman, J. Bollen, G. J. Vand den Born, R. Gerlagh, M. Krol, S.Toet and B. De Vries. 1996. Baseline global changes in the 21st Century. Global Environmental Change 6:261-303.

Constable, J.V.H., Guenther A.B., Schimel, D.S, Monson, R.K., 1999. Modelling changes in VOC emission in response to climate change in the continental United States. Global Change Biology, 5:791-806.

Geron, C., Guenther, A., Pierce, T., 1994. An improved model for estimating emissions of volatile organic compounds from forests in the eastern United States." Journal of Geophysical Research, 99: 12773-12792.

Guenther, A., Geron, C., Pierce, T., Lamb, B., Harley, P. and Fall, R., 2000. "Natural emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen from North America." Atmospheric Environment, 34: 2205-2230.

IPCC Third Assessment Report - Climate Change 2001
http://www.ipcc.ch/ Exit

Lassiter, R.R., Box, E., Wiegert, R.G., Johnston, J.M., Bergengren, J. and Suarez, L.A., 2000. "Vulnerability of ecosystems of the mid-Atlantic region, USA, to climate change." Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 19:1153-1160.

Pierce, T., Geron, C., Bender, L., Dennis, R., Tonnesen, G., Guenther, A., 1998. "The influence of increased isoprene emissions on regional ozone modeling." Journal of Geophysical Research, 103: 25611-25629.

Solomon, A. M. and P. J. Bartlein. 1992. Past and future climate change: Response by mixed deciduous-coniferous forest ecosystems in northern Michigan. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 22:1727-1738.

Solomon, A. M., I. C. Prentice, R. Leemans and W. P. Cramer. 1993. The interaction of climate and land use in future terrestrial carbon storage and release. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 70:595-614.

US Environmental Protection Agency, Global Change Research Program

US Environmental Protection Agency, Global Change Research Strategy


US Environmental Protection Agency, Models 3 / Community Multiscale Air Quality

US Environmental Protection Agency (2000) National Air Pollutant Emissions Trends: 1990 –1998 https://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/trends/trends98/index.html

US Environmental Protection Agency (2001) Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions between Transportation, Land Use, and Environmental Quality. January 2001. EPA 231-R-01-002.

Workshop on Intercontinental Transport and Climatic Effects of Pollutants, December 3-5, 2001, Research Triangle Park, NC

VEMAP Members, 1995. Vegetation/ecosystem modeling and analysis project: Comparing biogeography and biogeochemistry models in a continental scale study of terrestrial ecosystem responses to climate change and CO2 doubling. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 9:407-437.

Zuidema, G., G. J. Van den Born, J. Alcamo and G. J. J. Kreileman. 1994. Simulating changes in global land cover as affected by economic and climatic factors. Water, Air and Soil Pollution 76:163-198.


It is anticipated that a total of approximately $8 million will be awarded, depending on the availability of funds. EPA anticipates funding approximately 12-15 grants under this RFA. The projected award per grant is $150,000 to $250,000 per year total costs, for up to 3 years. Requests with EPA funding amount in excess of $750,000, including direct and indirect costs, will not be considered.

Assume a starting date of no earlier than October 2003 for budgeting purposes.


Institutions of higher education and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and Tribal, state and local governments, are eligible to apply. Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive grants from EPA under this program.

National laboratories funded by federal agencies (Federally-funded Research and Development Centers, “FFRDCs”) may not apply. FFRDC employees may cooperate or collaborate with eligible applicants within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations. They may participate in planning, conducting, and analyzing the research directed by the principal investigator, but may not direct projects on behalf of the applicant organization or principal investigator. The principal investigator's institution, organization, or governance may provide funds through its grant from EPA to a FFRDC for research personnel, supplies, equipment, and other expenses directly related to the research. However, salaries for permanent FFRDC employees may not be provided through this mechanism.

Federal agencies may not apply. Federal employees are not eligible to serve in a principal leadership role on a grant, and may not receive salaries or in other ways augment their agency's appropriations through grants made by this program. However, federal employees may interact with grantees so long as their involvement is not essential to achieving the basic goals of the grant. EPA encourages interaction between its own laboratory scientists and grant principal investigators for the sole purpose of exchanging information in research areas of common interest that may add value to their respective research activities. This interaction must be incidental to achieving the goals of the research under a grant. Interaction that is “incidental” does not involve resource commitments.

The principal investigator’s institution may enter into an agreement with a federal agency to purchase or utilize unique supplies or services unavailable in the private sector. Examples are purchase of satellite data, census data tapes, chemical reference standards, analyses, or use of instrumentation or other facilities not available elsewhere. A written justification for federal involvement must be included in the application, along with an assurance from the federal agency involved which commits it to supply the specified service.

Potential applicants who are uncertain of their eligibility should contact Jack Puzak in NCER, phone (202) 564-6825, email:puzak.jack@epa.gov


The Standard Instructions for Submitting a STAR Application including the necessary forms will be found on the NCER web site,Research Funding Opportunities: How to Apply and Required Forms.


The need for a sorting code to be used in the application and for mailing is described in the Standard Instructions for Submitting a STAR Application. The sorting codes for applications submitted in response to this solicitation are

2003-STAR-D1 for part 1, “Changes in the spatial distribution of stationary source emissions,”

2003-STAR-D2 for part 2, “Changes in the spatial distribution of mobile source emissions,” and

2003-STAR-D3 for part 3, “Changes in the spatial distribution and quantity of biogenic emissions.”

The deadline for receipt of the application by NCER is April 9, 2003.


Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA official indicated below.

Darrell Winner, 202-564-6929, winner.darrell@epa.gov