Regional Infrastructure and Air Quality Planning in Light of Global Change

EPA Grant Number: R834283
Title: Regional Infrastructure and Air Quality Planning in Light of Global Change
Investigators: Hess, Peter , Donaghy, Kieran P. , Mahowald, Natalie M. , Zhang, Ke Max
Institution: Cornell University
EPA Project Officer: Callan, Richard
Project Period: October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2012 (Extended to September 30, 2015)
Project Amount: $591,683
RFA: Adaptation for Future Air Quality Analysis and Decision Support Tools in Light of Global Change Impacts and Mitigation (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Global Climate Change , Climate Change , Air


We propose simulations of future air quality to provide insights to the air-quality planning community in light of the fact that an assessment of various adaptation options to climate change, including the impacts of technology changes, demographic changes and changing economic considerations must account for the close links and possible synergies between global change and air pollution. We propose simulations to provide insights to the air-quality planning community on 1) how changes exogenous to the U.S. including changes in climate, changes in emissions and changes in the global economy will impact U.S. air quality on the regional scale; 2) how long-term changes in transportation infrastructure, technology and power generation in response to climate change will induce communities to make regional scale changes in land-use, transportation and spatial interaction to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and thus modify regional air-quality. We will focus on interactions and causal linkages between factors operating at global and regional scales between now and 2050.


The principal objective of the proposed research is to develop modeling capability to investigate questions of interest to air quality planners. We propose to address the following questions in our research: 1) how will emerging technologies and infrastructure changes (including transportation) and global climate and air pollution policies impact regional air quality by 2050? 2) How will urban and regional landscapes evolve in response to changes in production and distribution at regional and global scales? How will associated changes in land use affect emissions and air quality? 3) How will regional and national policy decisions affect the urban landscape and what are the implications for air quality under a future climate scenario? 4) What are the synergies between climate and air quality regulation? How can the results of these studies be best used to inform present and future policy decisions?


We propose to apply linked global climate chemistry models and regional air quality models to simulate the linkages between local air quality and the global climate chemistry system. We will incorporate dynamic regional transportation and commodity flow models and the associated emission models to account for long-term changes in regional infrastructure through global economic pressures, and local and national policies. We will concentrate on the Northeastern U.S.

Expected Results:

We expect to extend the existing capability to predict regional air quality impacts due to the interaction between long-term changes in: global and regional climate and land use, the economy and commodity flows, transportation infrastructure and technology, power, fuel sources, and emissions. We expect that through scientific publications and workshops with stakeholders in the public and private sectors, this research will contribute to identifying synergies in regional planning in response to climate change and air quality.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 16 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 5 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

public policy, decision making, ozone, aerosols, environmental chemistry,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Energy, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Environmental Monitoring, Atmospheric Sciences, Atmosphere, atmospheric nitrogen, particulate matter, decision making, energy efficiency, environmental policy, forests, deforestation, ecosystem sustainability, air quality, Global Climate Change, land use

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2010 Progress Report
  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • 2014
  • Final Report