Impact of biogenic emission uncertainties on the simulated response of ozone and fine particulate matter to anthropogenic emission reductions.


The role of emissions of volatile organic compounds and nitric oxide from biogenic sources is becoming increasingly important in regulatory air quality modeling as levels of anthropogenic emissions continue to decrease and stricter health-based air quality standards are being adopted. However, considerable uncertainties still exist in the current estimation methodologies for biogenic emissions. The impact of these uncertainties on ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels for the eastern United States was studied, focusing on biogenic emissions estimates from two commonly used biogenic emission models, the Model of Emissions of Gases and Aerosols from Nature (MEGAN) and the Biogenic Emissions Inventory System (BEIS). Photochemical grid modeling simulations were performed for two scenarios: one reflecting present day conditions and the other reflecting a hypothetical future year with reductions in emissions of anthropogenic oxides of nitrogen (NOx). For ozone, the use of MEGAN emissions resulted in a higher ozone response to hypothetical anthropogenic NOx emission reductions compared with BEIS. Applying the current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidance on regulatory air quality modeling in conjunction with typical maximum ozone concentrations, the differences in estimated future year ozone design values (DVF) stemming from differences in biogenic emissions estimates were on the order of 4 parts per billion (ppb), corresponding to approximately 5% of the daily maximum 8-hr ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) of 75 ppb. For PM2.5, the differences were 0.1-0.25 microg/m3 in the summer total organic mass component of DVFs, corresponding to approximately 1-2% of the value of the annual PM2.5 NAAQS of 15 microg/m3. Spatial variations in the ozone and PM2.5 differences also reveal that the impacts of different biogenic emission estimates on ozone and PM2.5 levels are dependent on ambient levels of anthropogenic emissions.

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