Climate Model Response Uncertainty in Projections of Climate Change Impacts on Air Quality

  • Fernando Garcia-MenendezEmail author
  • James East
  • Bret D. Pienkosz
  • Erwan Monier
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


Uncertainties in climate simulations can strongly propagate to estimates of climate change impacts, including its effects on air pollution. Here we use a coupled modeling framework to evaluate the role of climate model response in projections of climate-induced impacts on air quality. Within integrated economic, climate, and air pollution projections, climate model response is altered by modifying the climate sensitivity of the framework’s Earth system component. We find that variations in climate sensitivity ranging from 2.0 to 4.5 °C per doubling of CO2 can change projections of the climate penalty on O3 and PM2.5 pollution in the U.S. by more than 2 ppb and 0.5 µg m−3. The impact of uncertainty due to climate model response can be as important as that related to greenhouse gas emissions scenario or natural variability.


Climate change Air quality Uncertainty Climate model response 


  1. 1.
    M. A. Fiore, V. Naik, E. M. Leibensperger, Air quality and climate connections. J. Air Waste Manage. Assoc. 65(6), 645–685 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    F. Garcia-Menendez et al., U.S. air quality and health benefits from avoided climate change under greenhouse gas mitigation. Environ. Sci. Technol. 49(13), 7580–7588 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    E. Hawkins, R. Sutton, The potential to narrow uncertainty in regional climate predictions. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 90(8), 1095–1108 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    E. Monier et al., An integrated assessment modeling framework for uncertainty studies in global and regional climate change: the MIT IGSM-CAM (version 1.0). Geosci. Model Dev. 6, 2063–2085 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    E. Monier et al., A framework for modeling uncertainty in regional climate change. Clim. Change 131(1), 51–66 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    S. Paltsev et al., Integrated economic and climate projections for impact assessment. Clim. Change 131(1), 21–33 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    A.P. Sokolov, E. Monier, Changing the climate sensitivity of an atmospheric general circulation model through cloud radiative adjustment. J. Climate 25, 6567–6584 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando Garcia-Menendez
    • 1
    Email author
  • James East
    • 1
  • Bret D. Pienkosz
    • 1
  • Erwan Monier
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental EngineeringNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global ChangeMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations