Climatic Change

, 108:619 | Cite as

Economically consistent long-term scenarios for air pollutant emissions



Pollutant emissions such as aerosols and tropospheric ozone precursors substantially influence climate. While future century-scale scenarios for these emissions have become more realistic through the inclusion of emission controls, they still potentially lack consistency between surface pollutant concentrations and regional levels of affluence. We find that the default method of scenario construction, whereby emissions factors converge to similar values in different regions, does not yield pollution concentrations consistent with historical experience. We demonstrate a methodology combining use of an integrated assessment model and a three-dimensional atmospheric chemical transport model, whereby a reference scenario is constructed by requiring consistent surface pollutant concentrations as a function of regional income over the 21st century. By adjusting air pollutant emission control parameters, we improve consistency between projected PM2.5 and economic income among world regions through time; consistency for ozone is also improved but is more difficult to achieve because of the strong influence of upwind world regions. Reference case pollutant emissions described here were used to construct the RCP4.5 Representative Concentration Pathway climate policy scenario.

Supplementary material

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ESM1(PDF 707 kb)


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Copyright information

© U.S. Government 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory5825 University Research CourtCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Sciences & EngineeringUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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