Illinois Climate and Air Quality Impacts. Kenneth E. Kunkel, Ho-Chun Huang, Allen Williams, Michael Caughey, and Xin-Zhong Liang, Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, Illinois 61820-7463
The burning of fossil fuels to produce energy results in the emission of various atmospheric pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, "nitrous oxides", mercury, and particulate matter. Reactions of these compounds in the atmosphere can produce other pollutants such as ozone. Present regulation standards govern ozone and sulfur dioxide concentrations. Future standards will, in addition, govern particulate matter and mercury. Future changes in the mix of energy sources, the magnitude of energy production, and the application of pollution control technologies will have impacts on air quality and the ability of the state of Illinois to meet regulatory standards. In addition to the impacts on air quality, the burning of fossil fuels also has an impact on the Illinois climate through the emission of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Models of the global climate system indicate that substantial warming may occur in the 21st Century with the burning of fossil fuels being the primary cause of such changes. Any warming that occurs will affect energy consumption with decreases in the winter and increases in the summer. One particular concern is the possibility that heat waves may become more extreme, increasing peak loads. These same models also indicate that large changes in precipitation are a possibility, potentially affecting the supply of water for power plant cooling. However, there remains great uncertainty about the rate of warming and the magnitude of precipitation changes.
A state-of-the-art modeling system is under development at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) to assess such impacts. This modeling system includes a comprehensive, physically-based air quality model (AQM), a regional climate model (RCM), and an emissions model (EM). The AQM incorporates state-of-art scientific knowledge to simulate various air pollution scenarios. With data provided by the RCM that describes future weather conditions, the AQM can estimate the changes of air quality in the future with respect to the current climate. The EM is able to simulate major sources of pollutant precursor gases with different future combinations of energy sources. This adds a powerful capability to the modeling system that allows the AQM to assess the impacts on air quality. This modeling system provides an important tool to reveal potential air quality-related problems that the state of Illinois might face in the future with various energy policies.
This talk will address a number of these issues. First, the range of future climate outcomes, based on recent simulations from global climate models, will be presented and discussed. Second, the ISWS modeling system is being used to assess the impacts of a recently-released scenario for emissions in the year 2020. The results of this assessment for tropospheric ozone will be described. Finally, the implications of the 2020 scenario, as well as for selected alternative scenarios, for Illinois carbon dioxide emissions will be discussedBack to the Energy Conference