An application of the adjoint method in air quality management is demonstrated. We use a continental scale chemical transport model (STEM) to calculate the sensitivities of a nationwide U.S. ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) nonattainment metric to precursor emissions for the period July 1 to August 15, 2004. The model shows low bias and error (-4 and 24%, respectively), particularly for areas with high ozone concentrations. The nonattainment metric accounts for both 1-h and 8-h ozone standards, but is dominated by the 8-h exceedances (97% of the combined metric). Largest values of sensitivities are found to be with respect to emissions in the south and southeast U.S., Ohio River Valley, and California. When nonattainment sensitivities are integrated over the entire U.S., NOx emissions account for the largest contribution (62% of the total), followed by biogenic and anthropogenic VOCs (24% and 14%, respectively). For NOx emissions, point/area and mobile sources account for 54% and 46% of the total sensitivities, respectively. We also provide a state-by-state comparison for the nonattainment magnitude, nonattainment sensitivity, and emission magnitudes to explore the influence of interstate transport of ozone and its precursors, and policy implications of the results. Our analysis of the nationwide ozone nonattainment metric suggests that simple cap-and-trade programs may prove inadequate in achieving sought-after air quality objectives.

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Journal Environmental Science and Technology
Hakami, A, Seinfeld, J.H. (John H.), Chai, T. (Tianfeng), Tang, Y. (Youhua), Carmichael, G.R. (Gregory R.), & Sandu, A. (Adrian). (2006). Adjoint sensitivity analysis of ozone nonattainment over the continental United States. Environmental Science and Technology, 40(12), 3855–3864. doi:10.1021/es052135g