Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Air Quality In West Going South

October 18, 2005
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
By mid-century, air quality throughout the Western United States will deteriorate, according to a new EPA-funded computer simulation by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

STAGNATION NATION: A new computer simulation shows changes in stagnation in days per season (a=summer, b=fall) and the same for still-air "unvented" hours per day (c=summer, d=fall) based on the difference between the mean future (2045-2055) and control (1995-2005) regional climate simulations.
Credit: Image courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The model is among the first to project effects of future climate change on U.S. regional air quality, and they will be most dramatic in the West, this time of year. Come fall 2050, the model shows, a temperature increase of up to 4 degrees centigrade will contribute to a doubling of stagnant, bad-air days—from one week to two—west of the Rockies to the coastal mountains, said Ruby Leung, a fellow at the Department of Energy laboratory who led the study.

Bad air days are marked by "stagnation events," which occur when dry, windless air heats and fills with dust, ozone and other [WG1] pollutants harmful to lungs and eyes. The model covers the period from 2045 to 2055, factoring in meteorological elements relevant to air quality—temperature, solar radiation and cloud cover, and two that control the rate at which polluted air is diluted or flushed from a locale, ventilation and stagnation. A known period, 1995-2005, was used for comparison.

The stagnation forecast in the West is limited to the fall, with no additional drop in air quality forecast for the summer, a finding similar to most other regions of the country. Summer, however, is the poor-air-quality season in Texas, and Texas will continue to warm by 2 to 3 degrees centigrade and to stagnate, by nearly four additional days at mid-century. Still, Leung reported, "it’s not a large change compared to the average 15 days per season in the control simulation."

The Midwest stands out in glaring contrast. The model predicts increased cloud cover, which will in turn deflect the sun’s rays back toward space, offsetting warming in the air near the surface for unchanged or even cooler temperatures than today. There will be less stagnation, up to 8 fewer days a season, and more frequent rainfall, as many as six extra days each season.

"Depending on the relative impacts of these parameters," Leung said, "ozone concentrations may remain similar or slightly decrease based on the simulated atmospheric changes alone." For more detailed projections of future air quality, Leung emphasized that "more studies need to be performed by including projections of natural and anthropogenic (human-produced) emissions and the complex chemical reactions that occur in the atmosphere."

PNNL staff scientist William Gustafson collaborated on the study, whose results were derived from the PNNL team’s regional climate model, driven by Harvard University global climate simulations using a NASA model.

PNNL is a DOE Office of Science laboratory that solves complex problems in energy, national security, the environment and life sciences by advancing the understanding of physics, chemistry, biology and computation. PNNL employs 4,000 staff, has a $700 million annual budget, and has been managed by Ohio-based Battelle since the lab's inception in 1965.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Air Quality In West Going South." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051007083855.htm>.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (2005, October 18). Air Quality In West Going South. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051007083855.htm
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Air Quality In West Going South." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051007083855.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This

More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins