Potential Impacts of Climate Change and Management Strategies on U.S. Air Quality
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Climate change will bring about many changes to the composition of the atmosphere. In addition to the increasing threats of extreme weather events and rising sea levels, climate change may also have a negative effect on air quality. Secondary formations of ozone and particulate matter are especially sensitive to changes in meteorological parameters such as temperatures and precipitation. In addition to changes due to climate change, air pollution concentrations in the future are influenced by management strategies that control emissions. The Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are both examples of management strategies that will change pollution concentrations in the future. The purpose of this Master’s Project is to take model results of current and future air pollution concentrations, under the CAIR and the NAAQS management scenarios, and summarize them in a way that can be utilized by policy makers to determine the best course of action for the future. Results are given for the Northeast United States summer season as an illustration of the causal inference method. Ozone concentrations will be lower in the future yet CAIR will not be any more effective at reducing ozone concentrations beyond the NAAQS’s. In contrast, the CAIR management strategy is more effective at reducing PM2.5 concentrations than the NAAQS. The probability of exceeding the health standards decreases for PM2.5¬ and ozone in the future. The results of this analysis indicate that CAIR is an effective tool to reduce PM2.5 concentrations yet no more effective than the NAAQS management strategy for ozone. This analysis paves the way for future work on how climate change will not only change temperatures but could also change how pollution is formed in the atmosphere.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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