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Atmospheric Composition Calculations for Evaluation of Climate Scenarios

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Abstract

The future radiative forcing by non-CO2 greenhouse gases depends strongly on the behavior of the OH radical, which represents the primary sink for CH4, CO and H(C)FCs in the atmosphere. We present a simple model to describe the changes in the concentration of the main greenhouse gases. The focus is on the description of the atmospheric chemistry of OH and the important tropospheric oxidant and greenhouse gas O3. Changes in the equilibrium concentrations of these oxidants will change the trends in the concentrations of greenhouse gases, especially CH4. The model is applied to the 1992 IPCC emissions scenarios, as well as to an IMAGE 2.0 scenario, based on “Conventional Wisdom” assumptions. We find the following major results: for the central estimate of emissions assuming no additional policies (IS92a), the concentration of CH4 keeps rising at rates similar to those observed over the last decades; results for the other IS92 scenarios range from stabilization early in the next century (IS92d) to an ever increasing rate of accumulation of CH4 in the atmosphere (IS92f), even though these scenarios assume no policy interventions. The IMAGE 2.0 Conventional Wisdom scenario is similar to IS92a before the year 2025; afterwards the expansion of agricultural area significantly decreases the emissions of hydrocarbons and NOx from savanna burning, not represented in the IS92 scenarios. This leads to stable levels of atmospheric CH4 after 2025.

Keywords

atmospheric chemistry CH4 OH O3 emissions scenarios integrated modeling 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection (RIVM)Bilthoventhe Netherlands

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