EPA Notes Climate Change Impacts on Ozone Pollution
"Assessment of the Impacts of Global Change on Regional U.S. Air Quality: A Synthesis of Climate Change Impacts on Ground-Level Ozone," a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report, concludes that there is a potential for climate change to make ozone pollution worse in some regions and that future ozone management decisions may need to account for the possible impacts of climate change.
Climate change has the potential to produce increases in ground-level ozone in many regions. Ground-level ozone is formed in the presence of sunlight by a chemical reaction between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are emitted from sources like motor vehicles and industrial facilities. Climate change also could increase the number of days with weather conditions conducive to forming ozone, potentially causing air quality alerts earlier in the spring and later in the fall.
The Global Change Research Program in EPA's Office of Research and Development led the development of the peer-reviewed report, which was done in partnership with EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. The report combines the results of new EPA-funded and existing scientific research and acknowledges that uncertainty remains over the specific regional patterns of climate change induced ground-level ozone changes.