Final Report: Development and Evaluation of a Methodology for Determining Air Pollution Emissions Relative to Geophysical and Societal Change

EPA Grant Number: R831449
Title: Development and Evaluation of a Methodology for Determining Air Pollution Emissions Relative to Geophysical and Societal Change
Investigators: Williams, Allen , Bye, Beth , Donaghy, Kieran P. , Ha, Soo Jung , Hewings, Geoffrey , Pallathucheril, Varkki , Tao, Zhining , Wuebbles, Donald J.
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: February 1, 2004 through January 31, 2007 (Extended to July 31, 2007)
Project Amount: $749,999
RFA: Consequences of Global Change for Air Quality: Spatial Patterns in Air Pollution Emissions (2003) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Global Climate Change , Climate Change , Air


The primary objective was to develop an Emissions Inventory Modeling System (EIMS) that uses a regional econometric input-output model (REIM) and emissions development tools to formulate future emissions inventories for different social and climate change scenarios in the format consistent with the National Emissions Inventory (NEI). We took into account of changes in population, economy, policy and regulations, technology, transportation, energy usage, landscape and land-use, and vegetation and land cover in development of future emissions inventory. The project was expected to achieve 4 sub-objectives. The first sub-objective of the study was to re-specify, re-estimate, and validate discrete-time REIM to support continuous-time simulation (CT-REIM) for the two study areas – Chicago and Midwest. The continuous time versions of these models fit available annual data as well as the original versions and are structurally stable over longer periods out of sample, making credible projections out to the year 2100 possible. These models also better accommodate economic cycles of periods ranging from months to years. The second sub-objective was to integrate emissions into the economic models. The approach taken was to map the NEI99 from its process based representation into a representation based on economic sectors and form the “emission intensity”, the emission per dollar of economic output, for each pollutant in each sector. Future emissions for each pollutant and sector were computed from modeled future economic output and the future emission intensity. A focus of the second sub-task has been the development of representations of future emission intensity. The third sub-objective was to evaluate the change in emissions over the Midwest due to anticipated changes in vegetative cover. Here, the effect of climate variation on vegetation distribution and biogenic emissions was investigated using a dynamic global vegetation model. The final sub-objective of this project was to establish a web-based decision-support system (DSS) through which the results of the study could be made available to other interested researchers. Anticipated capability is to produce future emission growth factors for each source classification code (SCC) for different economic and technological scenarios. The development and application of the EIMS will make a major contribution to a key goal of the EPA Global Change Research Program to quantify the emissions associated with, and resulting effects of, regional and global changes on air quality.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

  • We re-specified the discrete-time Chicago and Midwest REIM into continuous- time versions and validated both models against observations.
  • We developed the framework to transform the SCC level (or process based) emissions reported in NEI99 to economic sector level (based on North American Industry Classification System [NAICS] code) emissions required by the econometric model. Emissions from on-road transportation and household activities were handled separately using the vehicle mileage traveled (VMT), population, and energy usage data.
  • We investigated the National Emissions Trend data and the past social and economic activity data to establish the relationship between emission intensity (EMI) and time. This time-varying EMI is used in future emission inventory development.
  • We developed scenarios of future emissions for the Chicago metropolitan area and the Midwest region based on constant (at 1999 level) EMI and changing EMI, indicating the capability of our EIMS to formulate a wide range of scenarios.
  • We compared our emissions scenarios with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections and that predicted using the EGAS, an EPA emission projection model.
  • We finished the landcover simulation using the Argo-IBIS model under the IPCC A1Fi emissions scenario for 2050. The climate projections were based on a state-of-the-art regional climate model developed and operated in the Illinois State Water Survey.
  • We developed a method to generate a NEI-like future emissions inventory so that it could be directly input to SMOKE, an emission processing model.
  • We develop the prototype of the web-based DSS.


The EIMS developed in the study shows great flexibility and promise in projecting future pollutant emissions under various climate and societal change scenarios. The large inter-regional differences in economic structure and technological penetration found in this study emphasizes the importance of using continuous-time REIM as a tool for formulating emissions scenarios. Although it was developed for the Chicago and the Midwest region, the EIMS can easily be extended to other regions of the United States provided the availability of economic data. Improvements in the specification of continuous-time REIM can certainly be achieved to clarify structural relationships and to better frame policy choices and reactions to the same.

Journal Articles on this Report : 3 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 7 publications 3 publications in selected types All 3 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Tao Z, Williams A, Huang H-C, Caughey M, Liang X-Z. Sensitivity of U.S. surface ozone to future emissions and climate changes. Geophysical Research Letters 2007;34(8):L08811 (5 pp.). R831449 (2006)
R831449 (Final)
R830963 (2006)
R830963 (Final)
  • Full-text: AGU-Full Text HTML
  • Other: AGU-Full Text PDF
  • Journal Article Tao Z, Williams A, Donaghy K, Hewings G. A socio-economic method for estimating future air pollutant emissions—Chicago case study. Atmospheric Environment 2007;41(26):5398-5409. R831449 (2006)
    R831449 (Final)
  • Full-text: Science Direct Full Text
  • Abstract: Science Direct Abstract
  • Other: Science Direct PDF
  • Journal Article Tao Z, Williams A, Huang H-C, Caughey M, Liang X-Z. Sensitivity of surface ozone simulation to cumulus parameterization. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 2008;47(5):1456-1466. R831449 (Final)
    R830963 (2006)
    R830963 (Final)
  • Full-text: AMS-Full Text HTML
  • Abstract: AMS-Abstract
  • Other: AMS-Full Text PDF
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    global change, climate change, emission, emission intensity, stationary sources, mobile sources, biogenic sources, land-use change, energy usage, population, vehicle mileage traveled, technological change, policy and regulation, continuous-time model, regional econometric input-output model, regional climate model, air quality model, decision support system,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Atmospheric Sciences, anthropogenic stress, atmospheric dispersion models, environmental measurement, meteorology, Emissions Inventory Modeling System, climatic influence, emissions monitoring, future projections, global change, economic models, emissions inventory, climate models, greenhouse gases, societal changes, environmental stress, regional emissions model, ecological models, climate model, greenhouse gas, atmospheric models, land use, Global Climate Change, atmospheric chemistry, air quality, ambient air pollution

    Relevant Websites: Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2006 Progress Report