Impact of climate-responsive controls and land usage on regional climate and air quality
Trail, Marcus Alexander
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Impacts of Climate-responsive Controls and Land Usage on Regional Climate and Air Quality Marcus A. Trail 201 pages Directed by Dr. Armistead G. Russell Regional air quality impacts public health, visibility and ecosystem health, and is significantly affected by changes in climate, land use and pollutant emissions. Predictions of regional air quality responses to such changes can help inform policy makers in the development of effective approaches to both reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality. However, major sources of uncertainty exist in predicting future air quality including limitations in the tools used to project future emissions, land use changes and uncertainties associated with predicting future climate. Recently, technical advances in downscaling global climate simulations to regional scales, and, the development of bottom-up operational tools used to forecast emissions have enhanced our ability to account for the complex interactions between population, socio-economic development, technological change, and federal and regional environmental policies. The results show that emissions reductions strategies will continue to play a vital role in improving air quality over the U.S. while CO2 emission reduction policies can have mixed positive and negative impacts on air quality. However, additional costs will be necessary to reach air quality goals due to climate change because deeper emission reductions will be required to compensate for a warmer climate, even if current efforts are predicted to show improvement. The results of this study also show that regional climate and O3 and aerosol concentrations are highly sensitive to reforestation and cropland conversion in the Southeast and these land use changes should be considered in air quality management plans.