Climate change impacts future air quality

Climate change is likely to significantly affect future air quality over Europe. In particular, unchecked it will lead to increasing levels of ground-level ozone, an air pollutant that damages human health and ecosystems.

A recent study simulated the impact of climate change on air quality at the regional level in the year 2100 (as compared to 1990). A worst-case climate scenario was assumed, where human-induced air pollution emissions remained at the same levels as in the year 2003, thus revealing changes in air quality solely caused by climate change.

Modelling results suggest monthly average levels of ozone could reach around 110 µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre) over central France in July 2100, an increase of 50 µg/m3 from the year 1990. Large areas of south-west Europe could experience average ozone levels of around 110-125 µg/m3 in July 2100, up from 95-105 µg/ m3 in July 1990.

Source: DG Environment, Science for Environment Policy, 4 November 2010.

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