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Atmospheric Modeling and Analysis Research

GLIMPSE

Simultaneously achieving our air quality management, ecosytem conservation, and climate change mitigation goals

What is GLIMPSE?
GLIMPSE is an EPA modeling tool used to find U.S. policy scenarios that simultaneously improve air quality, human health, reduce impacts to ecosystems, and mitigate climate change. It is designed to be fast as well as comprehensive — to allow decision-makers to explore a range of options, to maximize benefits to air quality and reduce climate change impacts.

Why use GLIMPSE?
GLIMPSE allows decision-makers to examine their policy options holistically to ensure they are maximizing the environmental and health benefits. Energy system technologies, emissions from energy sources, and environmental and health impacts are all inter-related so a change in one area, may impact another, either positively or negatively.  

Effective decision-making requires understanding the energy system as well as a range of environmental and health impacts. For example, a program to promote electric cars may change power plant emissions and the types of pollutants entering the atmosphere. Electricity production from natural gas can lower carbon-dioxide emissions, but may increase methane emissions. Both are greenhouse gases. GLIMPSE can be used to evaluate the benefits and trade-offs. 

Who should use GLIMPSE?
Federal, regional, and state-level planning organizations including:

  • Decision-makers interested in finding energy scenarios that achieve both climate change mitigation and air quality human health benefits;
  • Energy officials who  want to understand the impacts of technology choices on the energy system, emissions, and environmental impacts;
  • Environmental planners interested in maximizing human health co-benefits of a greenhouse gas mitigation strategy.

Note: GLIMPSE does not replace regulatory analysis. Promising scenarios should be investigated with more detailed benefit assessment tools. GLIMPSE enables proposed policies to be tested quickly before more involved analysis is conducted. 

How does GLIMPSE work?
GLIMPSE couples the MARKAL energy system model, to understand the impact of policy actions on emissions, and data from the GEOS-Chem and CMAQ atmospheric chemistry-transport models, to understand the impact of emissions on short-lived climate forcers such as black carbon and greenhouse gases, and the human health costs of air pollutants. EPA scientists have developed a range of U.S. energy system scenarios and quantified their human health and climate change impacts.

Get started with GLIMPSE

Email EPA scientist Rob Pinder to access existing scenario data, or to use GLIMPSE to create your own energy scenarios that achieve multiple environmental goals.

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