Study suggests that Climate change impacts meteorological transport of air pollutants and their precursors with widespread reductions in vertical lofting in the troposphere resulting in higher pollution levels at the surface, and also near the tropopause

Thu, 21/12/2017

Research at University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, in collaboration with institutions in the USA, Canada and New Zealand have performed chemistry-climate model simulations for the end of the 21st century under the Representative Concentrations Pathway (RCP) climate scenario RCP 8.5 to investigate how climate change impacts global air pollution transport. To study transport changes, they used a carbon monoxide (CO) tracer species emitted from global sources. They found robust and consistent changes in CO-tracer distributions in climate change simulations performed by four chemistry–climate models in different seasons. They highlight the importance of the co-location of emission source regions and controlling transport processes in determining future pollution transport.

Professor Ruth Doherty from the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, said:

"This is the first time robust results concerning future transport pattern changes have been shown across multiple chemistry-climate models. Besides changes in emissions of air pollutants and their precursors changes in transport pathways due to climate change are important for determining future air pollution levels."


Further information

Multi-model impacts of climate change on pollution transport from global emission source regions was published as part of a special issue in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics on "Global and regional assessment of intercontinental transport of air pollution".  This work was funded by the UK Natural Environmental Research Council.