The impact of differences in large-scale circulation output from climate models on the regional modeling of ozone and PM
Climate change may have an impact on air quality (ozone, particulate matter) due to the strong dependency of air quality on meteorology. The effect is often studied using a global climate model (GCM) to produce meteorological fields that are subsequently used by chemical transport models. However, climate models themselves are subject to large uncertainties and fail to reproduce the present-day climate adequately. The present study illustrates the impact of these uncertainties on air quality. To this end, output from the SRES-A1B constraint transient runs with two GCMs, i.e. ECHAM5 and MIROC-hires, has been dynamically downscaled with the regional climate model RACMO2 and used to force a constant emission run with the chemistry transport model LOTOS-EUROS in a one-way coupled run covering the period 1970–2060.
Results from the two climate simulations have been compared with a RACMO2-LOTOS-EUROS (RLE) simulation forced by the ERA-Interim reanalysis for the period 1989–2009. Both RLE_ECHAM and RLE_MIROC showed considerable deviations from RLE_ERA for daily maximum temperature, precipitation and wind speed. Moreover, sign and magnitude of these deviations depended on the region. The differences in average present-day concentrations between the simulations were equal to (RLE_MIROC) or even larger than (RLE_ECHAM) the differences in concentrations between present-day and future climate (2041–2060). The climate simulations agreed on a future increase in average summer ozone daily maximum concentrations of 5–10 μg m −3 in parts of Southern Europe and a smaller increase in Western and Central Europe. Annual average PM 10 concentrations increased 0.5–1.0 μg m −3 in North-West Europe and the Po Valley, but these numbers are rather uncertain: overall, changes for PM 10 were small, both positive and negative changes were found, and for many locations the two climate runs did not agree on the sign of the change. This illustrates that results from individual climate runs can at best indicate tendencies and should therefore be interpreted with great care.