US Climate and Health Alliance

The geographic distribution and economic value of climate change-related ozone health impacts in the United States in 2030


In this United States-focused analysis we use outputs from two general circulation models (GCMs) driven by different greenhouse gas forcing scenarios as inputs to regional climate and chemical transport models to investigate potential changes in near-term U.S. air quality due to climate change. We conduct multiyear simulations to account for interannual variability and characterize the near-term influence of a changing climate on tropospheric ozone-related health impacts near the year 2030, which is a policy-relevant time frame that is subject to fewer uncertainties than other approaches employed in the literature. We adopt a 2030 emissions inventory that accounts for fully implementing anthropogenic emissions controls required by federal, state, and/or local policies, which is projected to strongly influence future ozone levels. We quantify a comprehensive suite of ozone-related mortality and morbidity impacts including emergency department visits, hospital admissions, acute respiratory symptoms, and lost school days, and estimate the economic value of these impacts. Both GCMs project average daily maximum temperature to increase by 1–4°C and 1–5 ppb increases in daily 8-hr maximum ozone at 2030, though each climate scenario produces ozone levels that vary greatly over space and time. We estimate tens to thousands of additional ozone-related premature deaths and illnesses per year for these two scenarios and calculate an economic burden of these health outcomes of hundreds of millions to tens of billions of U.S. dollars (2010$).Implications: Near-term changes to the climate have the potential to greatly affect ground-level ozone. Using a 2030 emission inventory with regional climate fields downscaled from two general circulation models, we project mean temperature increases of 1 to 4°C and climate-driven mean daily 8-hr maximum ozone increases of 1–5 ppb, though each climate scenario produces ozone levels that vary significantly over space and time. These increased ozone levels are estimated to result in tens to thousands of ozone-related premature deaths and illnesses per year and an economic burden of hundreds of millions to tens of billions of U.S. dollars (2010$).

Resource Type
Peer-reviewed article
Neal Fann Christopher G. Nolte Patrick Dolwick Tanya L. Spero Amanda Curry Brown Sharon Phillips Susan Anenberg
Resource URL
Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association
May 4, 2015
1096-2247, 2162-2906
Health and Human Impact
Climate and Environmental Impact

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