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Publication Date
1 February 2022

Meteorological Influences on Anthropogenic PM2.5 in Future Climates: Species Level Analysis in the Community Earth System Model v2



Biomass and fossil fuel burning impact air quality by injecting fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and its precursors into the atmosphere, which poses serious threats to human health. However, the surface concentration of PM2.5 depends not only on the magnitude of emissions, but also secondary production, transport, and removal. For example, in response to greenhouse gas driven warming, meteorological conditions that govern aerosol removal, primarily through rainfall and wet deposition, could shift in pattern, frequency, and intensity. This climate change driven process can impact air quality even without changes in aerosol emissions. In this experiment, we conduct new simulations by fixing aerosol emissions at present-day levels in the Community Earth System Model Version 2, but increasing greenhouse gases through the 21st century. In our results, the changes in patterns and intensity of PM2.5 are found to be associated with precipitation (via aerosol removal), temperature (via secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation), and moisture and clouds (via sulfate production). A decrease in wet day frequency (∼1.2% global mean) contributes to increases in the surface concentrations of black carbon, primary organic matter, and sulfate in many regions. This is offset in some regions by an upward vertical shift in the level where SOA forms, which contributes to higher column burden but lower surface concentration. These results highlight a need, using a variety of modeling tools, to continually reassess aerosol emissions regulations in response to anticipated climate changes. 

Banks, Alison, Gabriel J. Kooperman, and Yangyang Xu. 2022. “Meteorological Influences On Anthropogenic Pm2.5 In Future Climates: Species Level Analysis In The Community Earth System Model V2”. Earth's Future 10 (2). American Geophysical Union (AGU). doi:10.1029/2021ef002298.
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