The impact of residential combustion emissions on atmospheric aerosol, human health, and climate
Abstract. Combustion of fuels in the residential sector for cooking and heating results in the emission of aerosol and aerosol precursors impacting air quality, human health, and climate. Residential emissions are dominated by the combustion of solid fuels. We use a global aerosol microphysics model to simulate the impact of residential fuel combustion on atmospheric aerosol for the year 2000. The model underestimates black carbon (BC) and organic carbon (OC) mass concentrations observed over Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa, with better prediction when carbonaceous emissions from the residential sector are doubled. Observed seasonal variability of BC and OC concentrations are better simulated when residential emissions include a seasonal cycle. The largest contributions of residential emissions to annual surface mean particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations are simulated for East Asia, South Asia, and Eastern Europe. We use a concentration response function to estimate the human health impact due to long-term exposure to ambient PM2.5 from residential emissions. We estimate global annual excess adult (> 30 years of age) premature mortality (due to both cardiopulmonary disease and lung cancer) to be 308 000 (113 300–497 000, 5th to 95th percentile uncertainty range) for monthly varying residential emissions and 517 000 (192 000–827 000) when residential carbonaceous emissions are doubled. Mortality due to residential emissions is greatest in Asia, with China and India accounting for 50 % of simulated global excess mortality. Using an offline radiative transfer model we estimate that residential emissions exert a global annual mean direct radiative effect between −66 and +21 mW m−2, with sensitivity to the residential emission flux and the assumed ratio of BC, OC, and SO2 emissions. Residential emissions exert a global annual mean first aerosol indirect effect of between −52 and −16 mW m−2, which is sensitive to the assumed size distribution of carbonaceous emissions. Overall, our results demonstrate that reducing residential combustion emissions would have substantial benefits for human health through reductions in ambient PM2.5 concentrations.