Future U.S. ozone projections dependence on regional emissions, climate change, long-range transport and differences in modeling design

Hao He, Xin Zhong Liang, Hang Lei, Donald J. Wuebbles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A consistent modeling framework with nested global and regional chemical transport models (CTMs) is used to separate and quantitatively assess the relative contributions to projections of future U.S. ozone pollution from the effects of emissions changes, climate change, long-range transport (LRT) of pollutants, and differences in modeling design. After incorporating dynamic lateral boundary conditions (LBCs) from a global CTM, a regional CTM's representation of present-day U.S. ozone pollution is notably improved, especially relative to results from the regional CTM with fixed LBCs or from the global CTM alone. This nested system of global and regional CTMs projects substantial surface ozone trends for the 2050's: 6-10 ppb decreases under the 'clean' A1B scenario and ~15 ppb increases under the 'dirty' A1Fi scenario. Among the total trends of future ozone, regional emissions changes dominate, contributing negative 25-60% in A1B and positive 30-45% in A1Fi. Comparatively, climate change contributes positive 10-30%, while LRT effects through changing chemical LBCs account for positive 15-20% in both scenarios, suggesting introducing dynamic LBCs could influence projections of the U.S. future ozone pollution with a magnitude comparable to effects of climate change alone. The contribution to future ozone projections due to differences in modeling design, including model formulations, emissions treatments, and other factors between the global and the nested regional CTMs, is regionally dependent, ranging from negative 20% to positive 25%. It is shown that the model discrepancies for present-day simulations between global and regional CTMs can propagate into future U.S. ozone projections systematically but nonlinearly, especially in California and the Southeast. Therefore in addition to representations of emissions change and climate change, accurate treatment of LBCs for the regional CTM is essential for projecting the future U.S. ozone pollution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-133
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Dynamic lateral boundary conditions
  • Future US ozone projections
  • Model discrepancies propagation
  • Regional climate-air quality modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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