2015 Progress Report: Impacts of Climate-induced Changes in Extreme Events on Ozone and Particulate Matter Air Quality

EPA Grant Number: R835189
Title: Impacts of Climate-induced Changes in Extreme Events on Ozone and Particulate Matter Air Quality
Investigators: Wu, Shiliang , McCarty, Jessica , Owen, R. Chris
Current Investigators: Wu, Shiliang , McCarty, Jessica
Institution: Michigan Technological University , University of Louisville
EPA Project Officer: Callan, Richard
Project Period: June 1, 2012 through May 31, 2015 (Extended to May 31, 2017)
Project Period Covered by this Report: June 1, 2015 through May 31,2016
Project Amount: $374,960
RFA: Extreme Event Impacts on Air Quality and Water Quality with a Changing Global Climate (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Water Quality , Climate Change , Air , Water

Objective:

This study aims at improving our understanding and quantification of the potential effects of climate change on extreme meteorological events and air quality. Climate-induced changes in the following extreme events and their consequences for ozone and particulate matter (PM) air quality will be investigated: (a) heat waves; (b) temperature inversion; (c) atmospheric stagnation; (d) lightning activities and associated wildfires.

Progress Summary:

We have further examined the sensitivities of air quality to extreme air pollution meteorology to address three questions:

  1. Whether the results from our earlier work are affected by the specific data set we used. We have compared the long-term trends in extreme air pollution meteorology in the past decades as well as their impacts on air quality based on two different datasets: National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) vs. Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) data sets. We find that the results derived from these two data sets are comparable, which confirms our previous findings: (a) The increasing trends in extreme air pollution meteorology on global scale over the past decades are statistically significant; (b) air quality, in particular the high pollution episodes, shows strong sensitivities to extreme meteorological events, including temperature inversion, heatwaves, and atmospheric stagnation.
  2. What are the differences in the sensitivity of ozone to heat waves and that to high temperature? We have compared the impacts of heat waves (consecutive hot days) and single hot days on ozone and found that with the same daily maximum temperature, ozone concentrations during heat waves are significantly higher (by 4-5 ppb), reflecting the buildup effects during heat waves. Such phenomenon is most significant in the temperature range of 293-313K.
  3. Whether the derived sensitivities are affected by the changes in anthropogenic emissions. We have examined how the changes in anthropogenic emissions during 2001-2010 might affect the sensitivities of air quality to extreme air pollution meteorological events. We have found similar percentage change in air quality driven by extreme events for two periods (2001-2005 and 2006-2010), with very similar results based on the original data and “detrended” data. These additional analyses confirm that our derived sensitivities of air quality to extreme meteorology are not affected by the changes in emissions during 2001-2010.

In addition, we have investigated the impacts of extreme precipitation events (e.g., heavy precipitation and drought) on aerosols/PM air quality by examining the sensitivities of atmospheric aerosol lifetime to precipitation frequency and intensity. We find that the PM air quality is much more sensitive to precipitation frequency than intensity. This implies that even if the total precipitation amount remains the same, a less frequent (but more intense) precipitation pattern is unfavorable for PM air quality.

Finally, we have obtained additional data/model simulation results for the 2050s climate and air quality under the RCP6.0 scenario and we are in the process of analyzing the long-term evolution of extreme air pollution meteorology and high pollution episodes.

Future Activities:

  1. Based on the sensitivities of ozone and PM air quality to extreme air pollution meteorology derived in this study, we will develop a statistical model to project the risk of severe air pollution driven by extreme air pollution meteorological events.
  2. Examine the evolution of climate (in particular extreme air pollution meteorology) and air quality in the coming decades. Particular attention will be given to the changes in severe air pollution episodes (e.g., the top 10% most polluted days for each season). We will compare the projections from atmospheric chemistry models with those from the statistical model that we have developed.
  3. Continue our efforts in widely distributing project findings and sharing data generated from this project through (i) peer-reviewed publications; (ii) national and international conferences and workshops; and (iii) collaboration with other research groups on related topics and research questions.
  4. Backup and archive all the data generated in this project. Since it would be the final project year, we will make sure that (i) all the data are appropriately archived and documented and (ii) necessary read-me files and data processing/visualization files are provided for easy retrieval in the future. 


Journal Articles on this Report : 8 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 42 publications 17 publications in selected types All 17 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Hou P, Wu S. Long-term changes in extreme air pollution meteorology and implications for air quality. Scientific Reports 2016;6:23792. R835189 (2015)
R835189 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Huang Y, Wu S, Kaplan JO. Sensitivity of global wildfire occurrences to various factors in the context of global change. Atmospheric Environment 2015;121:86-92. R835189 (2014)
    R835189 (2015)
    R835189 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Kumar A, Wu S, Weise MF, Honrath R, Owen RC, Helmig D, Kramer L, Val Martin M, Li Q. Free-troposphere ozone and carbon monoxide over the North Atlantic for 2001-2011. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 2013;13(24):12537-12547. R835189 (2012)
    R835189 (2013)
    R835189 (2015)
    R835189 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Thelen B, French NHF, Koziol BW, Billmire M, Owen RC, Johnson J, Ginsberg M, Loboda T, Wu SL. Modeling acute respiratory illness during the 2007 San Diego wildland fires using a coupled emissions-transport system and generalized additive modeling. Environmental Health 2013;12:94 (22 pp.). R835189 (2012)
    R835189 (2013)
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  • Journal Article Wai KM, Wu S, Kumar A, Liao H. Seasonal variability and long-term evolution of tropospheric composition in the tropics and Southern Hemisphere. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 2014;14(10):4859-4874. R835189 (2012)
    R835189 (2013)
    R835189 (2015)
    R835189 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Zhang B, Owen RC, Perlinger JA, Kumar A, Wu S, Val Martin M, Kramer L, Helmig D, Honrath RE. A semi-Lagrangian view of ozone production tendency in North American outflow in the summers of 2009 and 2010. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 2014;14(5):2267-2287. R835189 (2012)
    R835189 (2013)
    R835189 (2015)
    R835189 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Zhang H, Wu S, Huang Y, Wang Y. Effects of stratospheric ozone recovery on photochemistry and ozone air quality in the troposphere. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 2014;14(8):4079-4086. R835189 (2013)
    R835189 (2015)
    R835189 (Final)
    R834286 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Zhang H, Holmes CD, Wu S. Impacts of changes in climate, land use and land cover on atmospheric mercury. Atmospheric Environment 2016;141:230-244. R835189 (2015)
    R835189 (Final)
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  • Supplemental Keywords:

    Air pollution meteorology, air quality, ozone, particulate matter, extreme events;

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
    2012 Progress Report
    2013 Progress Report
    2014 Progress Report
    Final Report