Projected effect of 2000–2050 changes in climate and emissions on aerosol levels in China and associated transboundary transport
Abstract. We investigate projected 2000–2050 changes in concentrations of aerosols in China and the associated transboundary aerosol transport by using the chemical transport model GEOS-Chem driven by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) general circulation model (GCM) 3 at 4° × 5° resolution. Future changes in climate and emissions projected by the IPCC A1B scenario are imposed separately and together through sensitivity simulations. Accounting for sulfate, nitrate, ammonium, black carbon (BC), and organic carbon (OC) aerosols, concentrations of individual aerosol species change by −1.5 to +0.8 μg m−3, and PM2.5 levels are projected to change by about 10–20% in eastern China as a result of 2000–2050 change in climate alone. With future changes in anthropogenic emissions alone, concentrations of sulfate, BC, and OC are simulated to decrease because of assumed reductions in emissions, and those of nitrate are predicted to increase because of higher NOx emissions combined with decreases in sulfate. The net result is a predicted reduction of seasonal mean PM2.5 concentrations in eastern China by 1–8 μg m−3 (or 10–40%) over 2000–2050. It is noted that current emission inventories for BC and OC over China are judged to be inadequate at present. Transboundary fluxes of different aerosol species show different sensitivities to future changes in climate and emissions. The annual outflow of PM2.5 from eastern China to the western Pacific is estimated to change by −7.0%, −0.7%, and −9.0% over 2000–2050 owing to climate change alone, changes in emissions alone, and changes in both climate and emissions, respectively. The fluxes of nitrate and ammonium aerosols from Europe and Central Asia into western China increase over 2000–2050 in response to projected changes in emissions, leading to a 10.5% increase in annual inflow of PM2.5 to western China with future changes in both emissions and climate. Fluxes of BC and OC from South Asia to China in spring contribute a large fraction of the annual inflow of PM2.5. The annual inflow of PM2.5 from South Asia and Southeast Asia to China is estimated to change by −8%, +281%, and +227% over 2000–2050 owing to climate change alone, changes in emissions alone, and changes in both climate and emissions, respectively. While the 4° × 5° spatial resolution is a limitation of the present study, the direction of predicted changes in aerosol levels and transboundary fluxes still provides valuable insight into future air quality.