Assessing the Consequences of Global Change for Air Quality: Sensitivity of U.S. air quality to climate change and future global impacts
Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program
National Center for Environmental Research

Opening Date: May 6, 2002
Closing Date: September 10, 2002

Specific Areas of Interest
Standard Instructions for Submitting an Application
Additional Requirements

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Program Title: Assessing the Consequences of Global Change for Air Quality: Sensitivity of U.S. air quality to climate change and future global impacts

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 two related topics of inquiry: (1) The effect of future global changes including climate change and global economic growth on regional air quality for North America; and (2) The effect of changes in specific meteorological variables on chemical transformations, transport, and ambient atmospheric concentrations for specific locations in the United States.

Contact Person:
Vivian Turner, 202-564-6793;

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s): 66.500

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: Cooperative agreement where significant interaction with EPA scientists is anticipated.
Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately five to six
Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $5 million
Potential Funding per Award per Year: Up to $300,00 per year for up to 3 years
Limitations: Requests over $900,000 total will not be considered
Sorting Code(s):
The sorting code for applications submitted in response to this solicitation is

Deadline/Target Dates:
Letter of Intent Due Date(s): None
Application Proposal Due Date(s): September 10, 2002

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 of global change for air quality. EPA is interested in analysis of the physical and chemical process related to tropospheric ozone and particulate matter formation that may be altered by the changing climate. A better understanding of the consequences of climate change for regional air quality will be useful for both fully accounting for the impacts of climate change and for state and local government emission control strategies to meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone and particulate matter.


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 guides this RFA.

EPA's Global Change Research Program 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. Climate change and variability, changes in land-use patterns, and changes in UV radiation are occurring on a global scale and the complex interplay of natural processes and human activities fosters wide-ranging change. 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 (e.g. Sillman and Samson, 1995).

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 change, land use change and UV radiation changes, 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 RFA solicits applications that focus on the two specific areas denoted in Figure 1 by the numbered arrows. Further description can be found in the next section (specific areas of interest).

As a part of the assessment framework, EPA?s National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL) is coupling global scale climate and chemical transport model predictions with the USEPA Models-3 Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model to represent intercontinental transport under current and climate change conditions. CMAQ is a regional scale model that predicts atmospheric concentrations and deposition of ozone and fine particulates. Current users of CMAQ include local and state governments, environmental consulting firms, industry, and academic researchers.

The research sponsored under this RFA will also contribute to the understanding of inter-continental transport of air pollutants. International and inter-continental transport of contaminants is currently a matter of concern for the U.S. EPA, given that it has been shown to raise background levels of air pollution over large areas. Trans-Pacific transport of Asian ozone precursors and particles may already be influencing the ability of western states to attain their air quality management standards. A recent NRC report, Global Air Quality, provides a brief summary of the observational evidence of long-range transport, and modeling studies of current and possible future impacts ( Recent research results on transcontinental transport of pollutants were also reported in the IPCC Third Assessment ( The IPCC concluded, ?The large growth in emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants as projected in some SRES [Special Report on Emission Scenarios] scenarios for the 21st century will degrade the global environment in ways beyond climate change.?  Further, the IPCC noted that changes in physical climate are also anticipated to impact tropospheric chemistry although current studies are "just the beginning of the research that is needed for adequate assessment."  By separately assessing the impact of climate change and future emission scenarios on global-scale air quality and the inter-continental transport of pollutants to the U.S., we should gain a better understanding of the level of degradation anticipated by these separate drivers.

EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS), under the Office of Air and Radiation (OAR), recently initiated a modeling project to study issues related to "Intercontinental Transport and Climatic Effects of Air Pollutants" (ICAP). Based on the summary and recommendations from a recent workshop (Workshop on Intercontinental Transport and Climatic Effects of Pollutants, December 3-5, 2001) and results from on-going efforts, EPA/OAQPS plans to continue to engage in a series of multi-scale (global, intercontinental, and regional) modeling activities to assess the impacts of intercontinental transport and climatic effects of air pollutants.

The research funded under this program will provide information on the global and regional scales that should be useful to assessments of air quality, including those under consideration at EPA, research centers, and other institutions. Prior to award, collaborative relationships between the recipients and EPA will be established to facilitate the exchange of research results with the greater assessment community. Please refer to the Additional Requirements section for details.


Proposals are sought that address one or both of the following two issues:

1) Future global impacts on U.S. air quality: This issue includes research that examines the effect of future global changes including climate change and global economic growth on regional air quality for North America (Figure 1, Arrows 1). Proposals directed at future global impacts on U.S. air quality must address long-term (i.e., from present day to 2050 and beyond) effects of climate change separately and in combination with changes in global emissions. It is anticipated that the global scale air quality simulations would provide estimates of inter-continental transport and boundary conditions for regional scale air quality model simulations, including EPA?s CMAQ model or other models of similar spatial and temporal resolution, in future assessment activities.
Example questions for the future global impacts area include:
  • How is climate change, singly and in combination with future emissions, likely to impact ambient levels of ozone and particulate matter in the United States over the next 50 years?

  • How could changes in climate, such as those presented in the IPCC Third Assessment Report ( , affect the intercontinental transport of ozone and particulate matter from Asia to the Western United States assuming emissions are unchanged? Which changes in climate (e.g., temperature, water vapor, circulation, etc.) are likely to be most important?

  • Considering future scenarios of economic growth, what impacts could be anticipated in intercontinental transport to North America  of chemical species related to both ozone and particulate matter?

  • What is the overall impact of changes in the physical climate and future global emissions on U.S. air quality over the next 50 years?

  • Which aerosol species are most sensitive to changes in climate and are important for air quality modeling?

  • How significant are inter-model differences among General Circulation Models (GCM) for simulations of air quality changes?
2)  Sensitivity of regional U.S. air quality to climate change: This issue includes research to explore the effect of changes in specific meteorological variables on chemical transformations, transport, and ambient atmospheric concentrations for specific locations in the U.S. (Figure 1, Arrows 2). Ambient concentrations of ozone and fine particulates are dependent on several meteorological variables including temperature, clouds, water vapor, wind speed, and precipitation patterns. Changes in these meteorological variables may directly alter emissions such as biogenic emissions, which could result in further changes in ambient concentrations. Examination of the direct influence of meteorological changes on emissions is encouraged; however, indirect adaptations of emissions to climate change, such as changes in energy demands, should not be proposed at this time. Sensitivity analyses using single, state-of-the-art air quality models could improve our understanding of important processes and the relative importance of meteorological variables (e.g., temperature vs. clouds vs. precipitation patterns) on ozone and fine particulate matter levels. In some cases, there may be competing, non-linear effects so that the direction of change is currently unknown.

Example questions for the sensitivity analyses area include:

  • What meteorological factors affected by climate change substantially alter ozone and particulate matter in U.S. urban areas? How large is the change in concentrations and in what direction for a specific change in meteorology?

  • How large a change in meteorological variables is needed to have a significant impact on ozone and particulate matter concentrations in the U.S.?

  • How sensitive are the predictions of the climate-related meteorological factors that most affect air quality to model uncertainty such as sub-grid parameterizations, climate-forcing boundary conditions, or process definitions?

  • What model uncertainties and emission uncertainties are significant concerns for simulating the fine particulate matter under climate change?
We will not consider:
  • Proposals with a primary focus on current or future scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions or the effects of greenhouse gases on climate. If any global climate modeling activities are included, they should be in support of the proposal's primary focus on either one or both of the above listed areas.

  • Development of new future scenarios for economic growth and emission estimates. Rather, future simulations should rely on existing projections that are available and have had adequate peer review.

  • Proposals with a primary focus of regional downscaling of climate. Any regional downscaled climate fields used should not require significant resources under this program and support the proposal?s primary focus on either one or both of the above listed areas.

Global Air Quality: An Imperative for Long-Term Observational Strategies (2001), National Academy Press, Washington, DC

IPCC Third Assessment Report - Climate Change 2001

S. Sillman and P. J. Samson (1995) Impact of temperature on oxidant photochemistry in urban, polluted rural, and remote environments, J. Geophys. Research, 100, p. 11497-11508.

US Environmental Protection Agency, Global Change Research Program

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

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


Up to $5 million is expected to be available for awards in this program. A proposal may request up to $300,000 per year for up to 3 years. Requests over $900,000 total, including direct and indirect costs, will not be considered.


Academic and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and state or local governments, are eligible under all existing authorizations. Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive cooperative agreements from EPA under this program. Applications will be accepted (1) from single research institutions and (2) from consortia that include more than one research institution.

Federal agencies, national laboratories funded by federal agencies (Federally-funded Research and Development Centers, FFRDCs) and federal employees are not eligible to submit applications to the program and may not serve in a principal leadership role on this award. 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. The principal investigator's institution may provide funds through its cooperative assistance agreement 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 employees may not receive salaries or in other ways augment their agency?s appropriations through cooperative agreement with this program. However the nature of the cooperative assistance mechanism explicitly contemplates collaboration between scientists in EPA laboratories and centers and the applicant?s institution or consortium. EPA scientists will be willing to consult and collaborate with the awardee in conducting ongoing or planned research. However, discussions regarding EPA collaborations will not take place until the final negotiation phase of the cooperative agreement; EPA collaboration should not be part of the initial proposal.

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


A set of special instructions on how applicants should apply for NCER funding is found on the NCER Website Standard Instructions for Submitting a STAR Application. The necessary forms for submitting an application are also found on this Web site.


Collaboration: This research will be funded through a cooperative agreement in order to facilitate collaboration between award recipients, the air quality modeling community, and EPA. The long-term assessment process necessitates close linkages across the research to ensure the multiple components are compatible with the overall assessment. Alternative approaches are encouraged, but they must be compatible with other components. Therefore, after award, recipients should anticipate establishing collaborative relationships with EPA Labs through an initial meeting. For budgeting purposes, assume this meeting will be in Research Triangle Park, NC.

After EPA officials develop recommendations for award, all applicants will be notified and the EPA Project Officer will begin negotiations with the recommended applicants to develop final cooperative agreement(s) that will form the legal basis for the award of assistance funding. EPA anticipates that these negotiations will occur during January 2003 and that one or more mandatory meetings at Research Triangle Park will be necessary to successfully complete these negotiations. Issues to be included in the negotiation at this juncture include: formal identification of key personnel; modification to the applicant's plan that respond to written peer panel evaluations regarding weaknesses that can be improved; negotiations about the nature of the collaboration by the principal investigator(s) with EPA scientists, engineers, and incorporation of this collaboration into the final cooperative agreement plan; and final budgets and terms of the agreement. The purpose of this final negotiation step is to ensure that all planning, application, and award paperwork--as well as implementation procedures--have been documented properly and are clearly understood by the affected parties.

Data Policy: The application must include a plan to make available all data (including primary and secondary/existing data) from observations, analyses, or model development under a cooperative agreement awarded in this program in a format and with documentation such that they can be utilized by others in the scientific community. The data must be made available to the project officer without restriction and be accompanied by comprehensive metadata documentation adequate for specialists and non-specialists alike to be able to understand how and where the data were obtained and to evaluate the quality of the data. The data products and their metadata must be provided to the project officer in a standard exchange format no later than the due date of the grant's final report or the publication of the data product's associated results, whichever comes first. Applicants who develop databases containing proprietary or restricted information should provide a strategy, not to exceed two pages, to make the data widely available, while protecting privacy or property rights. These pages are in addition to the 15 pages permitted for the project description.


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 code for applications submitted in response to this solicitation is 2002-STAR-N-1. The deadline for receipt of the application by NCER is September 10, 2002.


The following contact person will respond to inquiries regarding this solicitation and can respond to any technical questions related to your application.

Vivian Turner: