EGU23-4217, updated on 08 Jan 2024
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

High Resolution Simulations of European Air Quality in 2050 Following Different CMIP6 Climate Change Mitigation Pathways

Connor J. Clayton1, James B. McQuaid1, Daniel R. Marsh1,2, Steven T. Turnock1,3, Ailish M. Graham1, Kirsty J. Pringle4, and Rajesh Kumar5
Connor J. Clayton et al.
  • 1ICAS, University of Leeds, LEEDS, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England
  • 2CGD, NCAR, BOULDER, United States of America
  • 3Met Office, EXETER, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England
  • 4EPCC, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom of Great Britain – Scotland
  • 5RAL, NCAR, BOULDER, United States of America

Air quality co-benefits are expected to occur with greater climate mitigation, however climate mitigation is not expected to occur in isolation of other socio-economic changes. Although modelling studies investigating these co-benefits are common, limited work uses the recently developed “Shared Socioeconomic Pathways” which factor in the different patterns of climate mitigation, socioeconomic development and pollution control. Additionally, as the SSPs were designed for climate model ensembles, such as CMIP6, existing work usually uses global climate or earth system models with interactive chemistry simulated at relatively coarse horizontal resolution. These computational trade-offs may impact how effectively they model air quality at human exposure-relevant scales and may miss differing trends seen only at subregional scales.

We have used the anthropogenic emissions inputs from different SSPs which have different mitigation patterns applied to climate change and air pollution in 2050 to drive a specialised Atmospheric Chemistry model (WRF-Chemv4.2) at 30km resolution over Europe. We compare these to a 2014 control simulation. We present the validation of this model setup, which suggests an overestimation of surface PM2.5 concentrations, largely driven by overestimated NO3 aerosol, but good agreement with O3 observations. We find that while significant potential for air quality co-benefits exists, these effects are non-linear, with both PM2.5 and O3 worsening in some locations and scenarios despite increased pollution control compared to the present. We also find notable spatial heterogeneity in the change of PM2.5 and O3 across Europe in some scenarios.  Overall, however the results show that across Europe, scenarios with greater mitigation of climate change and air pollution show improvements in air quality that could lead to benefits to human health. 

How to cite: Clayton, C. J., McQuaid, J. B., Marsh, D. R., Turnock, S. T., Graham, A. M., Pringle, K. J., and Kumar, R.: High Resolution Simulations of European Air Quality in 2050 Following Different CMIP6 Climate Change Mitigation Pathways, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-4217,, 2023.