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Atmospheric Modeling and Analysis Research

Climate Research

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EPA is working to understand the interactions between air pollution and climate change. Some of the science questions we are addressing include:

  • How will future climate change affect air quality?
  • How do short-lived air pollutants impact atmospheric dynamics on regional and global scales?
  • What will be the regional-scale impact of climate change on precipitation patterns?
  • How will emission controls implemented for air quality management impact climate change?
  • What are the most cost-effective ways to mitigate climate change by reducing concentrations of pollutants that contribute to radiative forcing while meeting air quality goals?

Research Projects

Community Multi-scale Air Quality Model (CMAQ)
CMAQ is a powerful computational tool used by EPA for air quality management, and by the National Weather Service to produce daily forecasts for ozone air quality. The model is also used by states to assess implementation actions needed to attain National Ambient Air Quality Standards. CMAQ includes emission, meteorology, and chemical modeling components which help scientists reduce uncertainties in model simulations.

Air Quality Model Evaluation International Initiative (AQMEII)
The Air Quality Model Evaluation International Initiative (AQMEII) is a joint project with the European Commission Joint Research Centre based in Brussels, Belgium. EPA scientists are co-leading the international research collaboration in an effort to build a common strategy for regional and global model development and evaluation.

Air Quality and Climate Change Interactions
EPA scientsts are developing techniques for dynamically downscaling future global climate scenarios to create regional and local climate scenarios. These techniques will help EPA assess effects of future climate change on air quality, water quality and availability, heat stress, health, ecosystem exposures, and changes in extreme events.

Development of a Local-to-Global Air Quality Modeling System
As allowable levels of air pollutants become lower, it's becoming more important for scientists to understand exactly where pollution is coming from on a local-to-global scale. To address this need, EPA scientists are developing modeling frameworks representing complex interactons between physical, chemical and dynamical processes.

Modeling Air Quality Impacts on Terrestrial and Water Quality
Clean water and air come from healthy, sustainable ecosystems. To restore and protect ecosystems, EPA scientists are bringing together air quality models, meteorolgy models, and hydrology models to determine the effects air quality can have on ecosystem health. Workng together, these models can help scientists and policy makers beter understand factors that contribute to air pollution-driven impacts on ecosystems.

CMAQ Gas and Aqueous Chemical Mechanisms (under review - Deb Luecken)

Coupled WRF-CMAQ Modeling System
EPA is developing a coupled atmospheric-chemistry model - the two-way coupled WRF-CMAQ modeling system - to address the needs of emerging assessments for air quality-climate interactions and for finer-scale air quality applications.

Regional Climate Downscaling
To meet the growing need for regional climate projections to support impact assessments, EPA is developing regional climate modeling capabilities using the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model to dynamically downscale Global Climate Model simulations.

GLIMPSE
GLIMPSE is an EPA modeling tool used to find U.S. policy scenarios that simultaneously improve air quality, human health, reduce impacts to ecosystems, and mitigate climate change. It is designed to be fast as well as comprehensive — to allow decision-makers to explore a range of options, to maximize benefits to air quality and reduce climate change impacts.

Climate Impact on Regional Air Quality (CIRAQ)
EPA initiated the Climate Impact on Regional Air Quality (CIRAQ) project in 2002 to develop a pilot modeling study that incorporated regional-scale climate effects into air quality modeling. It involved collaboration across multiple federal agencies and academic groups with global-scale modeling expertise.

Emission Scenario Development
For the Climate Impacts on Regional Air Quality (CIRAQ) study, EPA examined air quality under a future climate scenario with human-related emissions of ozone and aerosol precursors fixed at 2001 levels, and biogenic emissions from vegetation and soils allowed to vary with simulated meteorology.

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