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Effect of regional precursor emission controls on long-range ozone transport – Part 2: Steady-state changes in ozone air quality and impacts on human mortality

West, J. Jason; Naik, Vaishali; Horowitz, Larry W.; Fiore, Arlene M.

Large-scale changes in ozone precursor emissions affect ozone directly in the short term, and also affect methane, which in turn causes long-term changes in ozone that affect surface ozone air quality. Here we assess the effects of changes in ozone precursor emissions on the long-term change in surface ozone via methane, as a function of the emission region, by modeling 10% reductions in anthropogenic nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from each of nine world regions. Reductions in NOx emissions from all world regions increase methane and long-term surface ozone. While this long-term increase is small compared to the intra-regional short-term ozone decrease, it is comparable to or larger than the short-term inter-continental ozone decrease for some source-receptor pairs. The increase in methane and long-term surface ozone per ton of NOx reduced is greatest in tropical and Southern Hemisphere regions, exceeding that from temperate Northern Hemisphere regions by roughly a factor of ten. We also assess changes in premature ozone-related human mortality associated with regional precursor reductions and long-range transport, showing that for 10% regional NOx reductions, the strongest inter-regional influence is for emissions from Europe affecting mortalities in Africa. Reductions of NOx in North America, Europe, the Former Soviet Union, and Australia are shown to reduce more mortalities outside of the source regions than within. Among world regions, NOx reductions in India cause the greatest number of avoided mortalities per ton, mainly in India itself. Finally, by increasing global methane, NOx reductions in one hemisphere tend to cause long-term increases in ozone concentration and mortalities in the opposite hemisphere. Reducing emissions of methane, and to a lesser extent carbon monoxide and non-methane volatile organic compounds, alongside NOx reductions would avoid this disbenefit.


Also Published In

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Ocean and Climate Physics
European Geosciences Union
Published Here
November 17, 2015