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Scientific issues in the design of metrics for inclusion of oxides of nitrogen in global climate agreements

Shine, Keith P. and Berntsen, Terje K. and Fuglestvedt, Jan S. and Sausen, Robert (2005) Scientific issues in the design of metrics for inclusion of oxides of nitrogen in global climate agreements. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), 102, pp. 15768-15773. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0506865102.

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Official URL: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/0.1073/pnas.0506865102


The Kyoto Protocol seeks to limit emissions of various greenhouse gases but excludes short-lived species and their precursors even though they cause a significant climate forcing. We explore the difficulties that are faced when designing metrics to compare the climate impact of emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NO<sub>x</sub>) with other emissions. There are two dimensions to this difficulty. The first concerns the definition of a metric that satisfactorily accounts for its climate impact. NO<sub>x</sub> emissions increase tropospheric ozone, but this increase and the resulting climate forcing depend strongly on the location of the emissions, with low-latitude emissions having a larger impact. NO<sub>x</sub> emissions also decrease methane concentrations, causing a global-mean radiative forcing similar in size but opposite in sign to the ozone forcing. The second dimension of difficulty concerns the intermodel differences in the values of computed metrics. We explore the use of indicators that could lead to metrics that, instead of using global-mean inputs, are computed locally and then averaged globally. These local metrics may depend less on cancellation in the global mean; the possibilities presented here seem more robust to model uncertainty, although their applicability depends on the poorly known relationship between local climate change and its societal/ecological impact. If it becomes a political imperative to include NO<sub>x</sub> emissions in future climate agreements, policy makers will be faced with difficult choices in selecting an appropriate metric.

Document Type:Article
Title:Scientific issues in the design of metrics for inclusion of oxides of nitrogen in global climate agreements
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Shine, Keith P.Univ. of Reading, Reading, UK
Berntsen, Terje K.CICERO, Oslo, N
Fuglestvedt, Jan S.CICERO, Oslo, N
Journal or Publication Title:Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS)
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 15768-15773
Keywords:climate change, climate metrics, Kyoto Protocol
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Transport
HGF - Program Themes:V UR - Schonung von Umwelt und Ressourcen (old)
DLR - Research area:Transport
DLR - Program:V UR - Schonung von Umwelt und Ressourcen
DLR - Research theme (Project):V - Umweltwirkungen des Verkehrs (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Atmospheric Dynamics
Deposited By: Prof.Dr. Robert Sausen
Deposited On:22 Feb 2007
Last Modified:11 Nov 2014 21:56

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