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Atmospheric Chemistry, Carbon Cycle and Climate (AC4) logo

Integrated modeling of air quality, carbon, and climate at a city scale for co-benefit mitigation

This 3-year project brings together a group of experts from two universities (NEU and GMU), two federal agencies (EPA and NOAA), one regional non-profit association (NESCAUSM), and one city office (the Mayor?s Office of New Urban Mechanics, Boston) to collectively tackle the most challenging issues in simulating the evolution of criteria air pollutants (CAPs) and greenhouse gases (GHGs) in urban atmosphere through addressing a critical need of integrated modeling for CAPs and GHGs using high-resolution/fidelity emissions to support policy-making at national/regional/city scales. It will develop an innovative integrated model system based on the online-coupled meteorology-air quality model (WRF/Chem) to simultaneously simulate the evolution of CAPs and GHGs and account for the chemistry-climate feedback in a changing climate in one simulation that is currently not possible. It will develop high-resolution (1-km) and high-fidelity emission inventories of air pollutants and GHGs to enhance fine-scale modeling capability with an unprecedentedly high accuracy under current conditions using geo-information data and a novel spatial downscaling methodology and future energy transition scenarios using a new a front-end decision support tool (GLIMPSE) that is built on an integrated assessment model (GCAM-USA) capable of projecting emissions at statelevel. The proposed work will represent the state-of-the-science and generate more reliable multi-pollutant concentration predictions than currently possible at national/regional/state levels. Specifically, this work is expected to develop (1) an integrated model system for simultaneous predictions of the evolution of CAPs and GHGs and (2) methodologies to downscale the NEI emission inventories to high-resolution (1-km) and the state-level GLIMPSE/GCAM-USA emission projections to the regional/city-level, and to produce (3) high-resolution/fidelity CAPs and GHGs emissions for 2012-2017 and 2047-2052; (4) predictions of evolution of CAPs/GHGs under plausible future energy scenarios in a changing climate and relative impacts of reduced emissions (GHGs vs. CAPs) vs. changing climate/land use; and (5) recommendations of the optimal future energy scenarios with maximum co-benefit for air quality control, climate change/land use change mitigation, and health improvement.
This work will benefit research communities and other federal, regional, state and local stakeholders for research priorities and policy-making and general public concerning environment and human health. The improved WRF/Chem will be first reviewed and then included for future public release by NOAA and the new energy transition scenarios will be incorporated into the U.S. EPA?s GLIMPSE/GCAM-USA. This work is highly relevant to NOAA CPO?s strategies as it directly addresses challenges in ?changing atmospheric composition and its impacts? and to the AC4 as it directly addresses major challenges ?in urban environment? and in ?understanding the evolution of urban air composition and carbon cycle in a warming climate using ?multispecies approach? and considering ?Urban Heat Islands? and Weather/Climate extremes. It aligns well with the AC4 program research scopes/priorities by simulating ?the processes governing atmospheric concentrations of trace gases and aerosols through ?the development and improvement of models? and high resolution/fidelity emissions and emission projections to ?inform carbon and air pollution management efforts? at national/regional/city scales.

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