Future aerosol emissions: a multi-model comparison


This paper compares projections over the twenty-first century of SO2, BC, and OC emissions from three technologically detailed, long-term integrated assessment models. The character of the projections and the response of emissions due to a comprehensive climate policy are discussed focusing on the sectoral level. In a continuation of historical experience, aerosol and precursor emissions are increasingly decoupled from carbon dioxide emissions over the twenty-first century due to a combination of emission controls and technology shifts over time. Implementation of a comprehensive climate policy further reduces emissions, although there is significant variation in this response by sector and by model: the response has many similarities between models for the energy transformation and transportation sectors, with more diversity in the response for the building and industrial sectors. Much of these differences can be traced to specific characteristics of reference case end-use and supply-side technology deployment and emissions control assumptions, which are detailed by sector.

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    Emissions of reactive gases such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxides, and volatile organic hydrocarbons also influence aerosol concentrations, however we focus here on SO2, BC, & OC emissions.


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SJS was supported for this work by the Climate Change Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with additional support from the Global Technology Strategy Project at PNNL. DvV acknowledges the financial contribution received from the FP7 project PEGASOS, financed by the European Commission. The authors thank Linh Vu for assistance with data processing. We also thank the anonymous referees whose comments significantly improved the paper.

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Correspondence to Steven J. Smith.

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Smith, S.J., Rao, S., Riahi, K. et al. Future aerosol emissions: a multi-model comparison. Climatic Change 138, 13–24 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-016-1733-y

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  • Black Carbon
  • Climate Policy
  • Reference Case
  • Aerosol Emission
  • Representative Concentration Pathway Scenario