Projected risk of high ozone episodes in 2050

Hang Lei, Donald J. Wuebbles, Xin Zhong Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the effects of projected global changes in climate and human-related emissions for the year 2050 relative to 2000 for trends in the potential risk of hazardous ozone pollution episodes using a global climate chemistry model, CAM-Chem, driven by meteorology output from Community Climate System Model 3. Three distinct pathways from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Emissions Scenarios A1FI, A1B and B1 are considered to address the range and uncertainty in projected climate and emission changes. The projected changes in extreme climate conditions are likely to intensify the associated extreme weather conditions that foster the risk of high ozone pollution episodes over many parts of the world. It is found that the changes in regional high surface ozone concentration by 2050 largely depends on changes in the anthropogenic emissions of ozone precursors. Our analysis under projected climate and emissions on the frequency of " hazardous ozone days" in which the peak ozone concentration exceed the limit in the summer of 2050, based on 8 and 1-h standards, show that the risk of hazardous ozone pollution episodes will likely increase in developing regions, but changes of risk in developed regions depend on scenarios. For three major pollutant regions, north America, Europe and East Asia under 8-h definition, the hazardous risk in all regions increases under the A1FI scenario with a potential rate of 39-79 days/summer by 2050, but it is likely to decrease over North America and Europe under the A1B and B1 scenarios. The risk on Europe under the A1B and B1 scenarios can be ignored, but a significant rate of 6-71 days/summer still occur on other regions. The relative variability in projected frequency of hazardous ozone days increase by using the 1-h definition, although it shows the highest risk of 17-59 days/summer under the A1FI scenario. The higher variability can be understood through statistical analysis of cumulative frequency distribution of daily peak ozone concentrations, which shows that the changes of surface ozone level are more significantly presented on the high value part.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-577
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Air quality
  • Climate change
  • Future projection
  • High ozone episodes
  • Surface ozone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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