Climate impact of aviation NOx̳ emissions : radiative forcing, temperature, and temporal heterogeneity
Author(s)Wong, Lawrence Man Kit
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Steven R. H. Barrett.
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Aviation NOx emissions are byproducts of combustion in the presence of molecular nitrogen. In the upper troposphere, NOx emissions result in the formation of O₃ but also reduce the lifetime of CH4 , causing an indirect reduction in the formation of O₃. Meta studies by Lee et al. and Prather et al. concluded that the short-lived O₃ radiative forcing (RF) was greater than the combined long-lived CH₄ and O₃ RFs, leading to a net positive RF (4.5 to 14.3 mW/m² per Tg of NOx emissions). However, few simulations assess the surface air temperature (SAT) response, or conduct a large ensemble simulation with climate feedback in the cases where SAT is predicted. We aim to quantify the climate forcing and temperature response of aviation NOx emissions. Eight 400-member ensemble simulations are conducted with an earth system model of intermediate complexity. Inter-scenario comparisons between emissions starting in 1991, 2016 and 2036 with mid-range and high anthropogenic emissions are performed. We then determine the existence of long-term temporal heterogeneity of climate forcing and impact. The global net RF of an aviation NO, emissions inventory is positive from 1991 to 2100 while leading to a global average SAT responses of -0.068 K in 2100. Despite the positive zonal RF in the Northern Hemisphere of up to 413.9 mW/m² at 45°N, all latitudes experience cooling after 2075. In another scenario, constant aviation NOx emissions at 4.1 Tg/year cause a global net RF of near zero while leading to a SAT response of -0.020 K in 2100. The unexpected temperature behavior in both scenarios is attributed to the forcing from CH₄ destruction being 64% more effective in generating a SAT response than the O₃ forcing. Despite the positive net RF, the probability of aviation NOx emissions being cooling is 67% because of the relative difference in O₃ and CH₄ efficacies.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2014.In title on title page, double underscored "x" appears as subscript. Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 47-49).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Aeronautics and Astronautics.