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European Atmosphere in 2050, a Regional Air Quality and Climate Perspective Under CMIP5 Scenarios

By A. Colette, B. Bessagnet, R. Vautard, S. Szopa, S. Rao, S. Schucht, Z. Klimont, M. Holland, L. Menut, F. Meleux and L. Rouil


To quantify changes in air pollution in Europe at the 2050 horizon, we designed a comprehensive modelling system that captures the external factors considered to be most relevant and relies on up-to-date and consistent sets of air pollution and climate policy scenarios. Global and regional climate as well as global chemistry simulations are based on the recent Representative Concentrations Pathways (RCP) produced for the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of IPCC whereas regional air quality modelling is based on the updated emissions scenarios produced in the framework of the Global Energy Assessment. We explored two diverse scenarios: a reference scenario where climate policies are absent and a mitigation scenario which limits global temperature rise to within 2 degrees C by the end of this century. This first assessment of projected air quality and climate at the regional scale based on CMIP5 (5th Climate Model Intercomparison Project) climate simulations is in line with the existing literature using CMIP3. The discrepancy between air quality simulations obtained with a climate model or with meteorological reanalyses is pointed out. Sensitivity simulations show that the main factor driving future air quality projections is air pollutant emissions, rather than climate change or long range transport. Whereas the well documented "climate penalty" bearing upon ozone over Europe is confirmed, other features appear less robust compared to the literature: such as the impact of climate on PM2.5. The quantitative disentangling of each contributing factor shows that the magnitude of the ozone climate penalty has been overstated in the past while on the contrary the contribution of the global ozone burden is overlooked in the literature

Year: 2013
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