Linking air pollution and climate change:
The case for controlling methane

Arlene M. Fiore, Daniel J. Jacob, Brendan D. Field, David G. Streets, Suneeta D. Fernandes, Carey Jang
Accepted for publication in Geophys. Res. Lett. Copyright 2002 American Geophysical Union. Further reproduction or electronic distribution is not permitted.


Methane emission controls are found to be a powerful lever for reducing both global warming and air pollution via decreases in background tropospheric ozone. Reducing anthropogenic methane emissions by fifty percent nearly halves the incidence of U.S. high-ozone events and lowers global radiative forcing by 0.37 W m-2 (0.30 W m-2 from CH4, 0.07 W m-2 from O3) in a 3-D model of tropospheric chemistry. A 2030 simulation based upon IPCC A1 emissions projections shows a longer and more intense U.S. ozone pollution season despite domestic emission reductions, indicating that intercontinental transport and a rising ozone background should be considered when setting air quality goals.

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