Sensitivity of global tropospheric ozone and fine particulate matter concentrations to climate change

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Abstract

[1] An integrated global model of climate, tropospheric gas phase chemistry, and aerosols has been used to investigate the sensitivity of global ozone and fine particulate matter concentrations to climate change. Two simulations corresponding to present (1990s) and future (2050s) climates have been performed and compared. A future climate has been imposed using ocean boundary conditions corresponding to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change SRES A2 scenario for the 2050s decade, resulting in an increase in the global annual average values of the surface air temperature by 1.7°C, the lower tropospheric specific humidity by 0.9 g H2O/kg air, and the precipitation by 0.15 mm d−1. Present-day anthropogenic emissions have been used in both simulations while climate-sensitive natural emissions were allowed to vary with the simulated climate. The tropospheric ozone burden in the future climate run decreased by 5%, and its lifetime decreased from 27.8 to 25.3 days. The tropospheric ozone change is driven primarily by increased ozone loss rates through ozone photolysis in the presence of water vapor, which on a global scale, more than compensate for the increased ozone chemical production associated with increased temperatures. At the model surface layer, over remote regions, ozone mixing ratios decreased by 1–3 ppbv, while polluted regions showed a relatively smaller decrease of 0–1 ppbv and increased by 1–5 ppbv in some cases. The global burdens and lifetimes of fine particulate matter species in the future climate run decreased by 2 to 18% because of increased wet deposition loss rates associated with increased precipitation. At the model surface layer, there are regions of decreases and increases in the concentrations of fine particulate matter species. The increased surface layer concentrations of some fine particulate matter species is primarily driven by lower regional-scale precipitation and increased secondary production, where applicable. The robustness of the predicted regional-scale changes for fine particulate matter species is strongly dependent upon the predicted regional-scale precipitation changes.

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