Climate Change and Air Quality
Air quality and climate change are intrinsically linked. Research has found that atmospheric warming associated with climate change has the potential to increase ground-level ozone in many regions, which may present challenges for compliance with the ozone standards in the future. The impact of climate change on other air pollutants, such as particulate matter, is less certain, but research is underway to address these uncertainties.
Conversely, air pollutants can have important implications for climate change. Ozone in the atmosphere warms the climate, while different components of PM can have either warming or cooling effects on the climate. For example, black carbon, a particulate pollutant from combustion, contributes to the warming of the Earth, while particulate sulfates cool the earth's atmosphere.
The relationships between air quality, climate change and adverse health effects must be characterized to fully understand the impacts of environmental decisions related to air quality and climate change. The scientific knowledge and tools developed by EPA are enhancing the ability of air quality managers to consider climate change impacts and policies in their decisions to protect air quality and vice versa.