Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-755
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-755
21 Mar 2024
 | 21 Mar 2024

The Co-benefits of a Low-Carbon Future on Air Quality in Europe

Connor J. Clayton, Daniel R. Marsh, Steven T. Turnock, Ailish M. Graham, Kirsty J. Pringle, Carly L. Reddington, Rajesh Kumar, and James B. McQuaid

Abstract. There is considerable academic interest in the potential for air quality improvement as a co-benefit of climate change mitigation. Few studies use regional air quality models for simulating future co-benefits, but many use global chemistry-climate model output. Using regional atmospheric chemistry could provide a better representation of air quality changes than global chemistry-climate models, especially by improving the representation of elevated urban concentrations. We use a detailed regional atmospheric chemistry model (WRF-Chem v 4.2) to model European air quality in 2050 compared to 2014 following three climate change mitigation scenarios. We represent different climate futures by using air pollutant emissions and chemical boundary conditions (from CESM2-WACCM output) for three Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP1-2.6, SSP2-4.5, SSP3-7.0; a high, medium and low mitigation pathway).

We find that in 2050, following SSP1-2.6, mean population-weighted PM2.5 concentrations across European countries reduces by 52 % compared to 2014. Whilst under SSP2-4.5, this average reduction is 34 %. The smallest average reduction was 18 % by following SSP3-7.0. Maximum 6-monthly-mean daily-maximum 8 h (6mDM8h) ozone (O3) is reduced across Europe by 15 % following SSP1-2.6, and 3 % following SSP2-4.5, but increases by 13 % following SSP3-7.0. This demonstrates clear co-benefits of climate mitigation. The additional resolution allows us to analyse regional differences and identify key sectors. We find that mitigation of agricultural emissions will be key for attaining meaningful co-benefits of mitigation policies, evidenced by the importance of changes in NO3 aerosol mass to determining future PM2.5 air quality and changes in CH4 emissions to future O3 air quality.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Connor J. Clayton, Daniel R. Marsh, Steven T. Turnock, Ailish M. Graham, Kirsty J. Pringle, Carly L. Reddington, Rajesh Kumar, and James B. McQuaid

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-755', Anonymous Referee #1, 09 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-755', Anonymous Referee #2, 07 May 2024
  • AC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-755 Response to reviewer comments', Connor Clayton, 18 Jun 2024
Connor J. Clayton, Daniel R. Marsh, Steven T. Turnock, Ailish M. Graham, Kirsty J. Pringle, Carly L. Reddington, Rajesh Kumar, and James B. McQuaid

Data sets

Cclayton_WRFChem_SSP_pres Connor Clayton https://zenodo.org/records/10781398

Connor J. Clayton, Daniel R. Marsh, Steven T. Turnock, Ailish M. Graham, Kirsty J. Pringle, Carly L. Reddington, Rajesh Kumar, and James B. McQuaid

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Short summary
We demonstrate that strong climate mitigation could lead to vastly improved air quality in Europe, however, only minimal benefits are seen following the current trajectory of climate mitigation. We use a model that allows us to see where the improvements are greatest (Central Europe) and analyse what sectors are most important for achieving these co-benefits (agriculture/power).