2016 Progress Report: Quantifying Risks from Changing U.S. PM2.5 Distributions Due to Climate Variability and Warming with Large Multi-Model Ensembles and High-Resolution Downscaling

EPA Grant Number: R835878
Title: Quantifying Risks from Changing U.S. PM2.5 Distributions Due to Climate Variability and Warming with Large Multi-Model Ensembles and High-Resolution Downscaling
Investigators: Fiore, Arlene M , West, Jason
Institution: Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018
Project Period Covered by this Report: January 1, 2016 through December 31,2016
Project Amount: $788,625
RFA: Particulate Matter and Related Pollutants in a Changing World (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air , Climate Change


The overarching goal of this project is to quantify changes in air pollution meteorology, and the resulting PM2.5 distributions in U.S. surface air, in order to estimate time evolving air pollution risks over the next five decades. We will quantify: (a) changing meteorological hazards conducive to air pollution episodes and their relationships with regional PM2.5, (b) impacts of climate variability versus warming on PM2.5, and (c) the timeframe for emergence of an anthropogenic warming signal. We will examine regional vulnerabilities of PM2.5 to changing meteorological hazards, such as changing anthropogenic emissions and climate feedbacks from “natural” emissions (wildfires, biogenic secondary organic aerosol). For specific U.S. regions, we propose to estimate time-evolving regional PM2.5 risks (statistics relevant for policy and health impacts) from the changes in regional hazards and vulnerabilities (risk = hazard * vulnerability).

Progress Summary:

We have begun examining the influence of climate change on PM2.5, with initial findings indicating that temperature, wind speed, and precipitation exert the strongest controls on PM2.5. Our chemistry-climate model generally falls within 10-50% of observed temperature-PM2.5 and wind-PM2.5 relationships over the eastern United States. With a systematic analysis of temperature trends over the eastern United States by season, region, and time period, we found a partial role for anthropogenic aerosols in contributing to the so-called "U.S. warming hole" over the northeastern and southern U.S.A. in summer. We are developing an approach for rapid screening of large volumes of data generated by chemistry-climate models to characterize projected changes in the frequency and duration of PM2.5 pollution events. We showed that a globally equatorward shift of ozone precursor emissions dominated the growth in tropospheric ozone from 1980 to 2010, more important than either the global growth in emissions or the growth in methane.

Future Activities:

We will apply statistical methods to quantify changes in frequency and duration of PM2.5 in multiple chemistry-climate model scenarios and identify periods of most interest in terms of high frequency and/or long duration PM2.5 episodes for dynamical downscaling. We will begin downscaling selected years from the global models to the U.S.A. at high spatial resolution, using WRF, SMOKE, and CMAQ. We are working to diagnose stagnation events in our chemistry-climate model simulations and their relation to U.S. PM2.5 levels. Internal variability will be quantified with our existing centuries-long simulations in which air pollutant emissions and climate forcings are held constant, and we will identify relationships between known modes of climate variability (e.g., ENSO) and U.S. PM2.5 levels. Wherever possible with available observations, we will evaluate simulated air pollutant levels and their relationships with meteorological and climatic conditions.

Journal Articles on this Report : 4 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 16 publications 4 publications in selected types All 4 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Lin M, Horowitz LW, Payton R, Fiore AM, Tonnesen G. US surface ozone trends and extremes from 1980 to 2014: quantifying the roles of rising Asian emissions, domestic controls, wildfires, and climate. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 2017;17(4):2943-2970. R835878 (2016)
R835878 (2017)
  • Full-text: ACP-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: ACP-Abstract
  • Other: Harvard University-Abstract
  • Journal Article Mascioli NR, Previdi M, Fiore AM, Ting M. Timing and seasonality of the United States 'warming hole'. Environmental Research Letters 2017;12(3):034008 (10 pp.). R835878 (2016)
    R835878 (2017)
    R835206 (Final)
  • Full-text: IOP-Full Text HTML
  • Abstract: IOP-Abstract
  • Other: IOP-Full Text PDF
  • Journal Article Westervelt DM, Horowitz LW, Naik V, Tai APK, Fiore AM, Mauzerall DL. Quantifying PM2.5-meteorology sensitivities in a global climate model. Atmospheric Environment 2016;142:43-56. R835878 (2016)
    R835206 (Final)
  • Full-text: ScienceDirect-Full Text HTML
  • Abstract: ScienceDirect-Abstract
  • Other: ScienceDirect-Full Text PDF
  • Journal Article Zhang Y, Cooper OR, Gaudel A, Thompson AM, Nedelec P, Ogino S-Y, West JJ. Tropospheric ozone change from 1980 to 2010 dominated by equatorward redistribution of emissions. Nature Geoscience 2016;9(12):875-879. R835878 (2016)
    R834285 (Final)
  • Full-text: ResearchGate-Abstract & Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: Nature-Abstract
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    Modeling, climate models, global change, climate variability, risk, health effects, visibility, aerosol, decision-making, sustainable air and water management;

    Relevant Websites:

    Presentations are at Fiore Atmospheric Chemistry Group Presentations Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2017 Progress Report