Lili Xia

My research focuses on climate impacts on vegetation and agriculture. I am interested in understanding the interaction between vegetation and climate system. Future climate scenarios I studied are global warming, solar radiation management and nuclear war.

Contact Information:

14 College Farm Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Research Interests

Sulfate geoengineering has been discussed frequently as anthropogenic global warming is continuing, and currently we lack an adequate mitigation strategy to keep global average temperature from rising to 2°C above the pre-industrial level. With sulfate geoengineering, climate factors important for agriculture will change, including temperature, precipitation, total solar radiation, diffuse radiation, ultraviolet radiation, and surface ozone. I am interested in vegetation (including crops) responses to those unique climate change under sulfate geoengineering using the Community Earth System Model and crop models.

I am also interested in studying nuclear war impacts on global food system. A simulated nuclear war could inject soot into the stratopshere, which would absorb sunlight, decrease global averaged surface temperature for years, and have major impacts on precipitation and solar radiation reaching Earth's surface. This would have a strong impact on agriculture system as well as the fishery. I am collaborating with the AgMIP and the Fish-MIP to estimate global food system change under simulated nuclear wars.


Rutgers University - New Brunswick

Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences
supervised by Alan Robock

Rutgers University - New Brunswick

Master in Atmospheric Sciences

Peking University

Master of Science
supervised by Liping Zhou

Peking University

Bachelor of Science


  • Observation-based sowing dates and cultivars significantly affect yield and irrigation for some crops in the Community Land Model (CLM5)
    Geoscientific Model Development Volume 16, Issue 24

    Sam S. Rabin, William J. Sacks, Danica L. Lombardozzi, Lili Xia, and Alan Robock

    Full Text

    Farmers around the world time the planting of their crops to optimize growing season conditions and choose varieties that grow slowly enough to take advantage of the entire growing season while minimizing the risk of late-season kill. As climate changes, these strategies will be an important component of agricultural adaptation. Thus, it is critical that the global models used to project crop productivity under future conditions are able to realistically simulate growing season timing. This is especially important for climate- and hydrosphere-coupled crop models, where the intra-annual timing of crop growth and management affects regional weather and water availability. We have improved the crop module of the Community Land Model (CLM) to allow the use of externally specified crop planting dates and maturity requirements. In this way, CLM can use alternative algorithms for future crop calendars that are potentially more accurate and/or flexible than the built-in methods.

    Using observation-derived planting and maturity inputs reduces bias in the mean simulated global yield of sugarcane and cotton but increases bias for corn, spring wheat, and especially rice. These inputs also reduce simulated global irrigation demand by 15%, much of which is associated with particular regions of corn and rice cultivation. Finally, we discuss how our results suggest areas for improvement in CLM and, potentially, similar crop models.

    Dec 18, 2023
  • Optimal Climate Intervention Scenarios for Crop Production Vary by Nation
    Nature Food 4, 902-911

    Brendan Clark, Lili Xia, Alan Robock, Simone Tilmes, Jadwiga H. Richter, Daniele Visioni and Sam S. Rabin

    Full Text

    Stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI) is a proposed strategy to reduce the effects of anthropogenic climate change. There are many temperature targets that could be chosen for a SAI implementation, which would regionally modify climatically relevant variables such as surface temperature, precipitation, humidity, total solar radiation and diffuse radiation. In this work, we analyse impacts on national maize, rice, soybean and wheat production by looking at output from 11 different SAI scenarios carried out with a fully coupled Earth system model coupled to a crop model. Higher-latitude nations tend to produce the most calories under unabated climate change, while midlatitude nations maximize calories under moderate SAI implementation and equatorial nations produce the most calories from crops under high levels of SAI. Our results highlight the challenges in defining 'globally optimal' SAI strategies, even if such definitions are based on just one metric.
    Oct 05, 2023
  • Future dust concentration over the Middle East and North Africa region under global warming and stratospheric aerosol intervention scenarios
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Volume 23, Issue 18

    Seyed Vahid Mousavi, Khalil Karami, Simone Tilmes, Helene Muri, Lili Xia, and Abolfazl Rezaei

    Full Text

    The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is the dustiest region in the world, and understanding the projected changes in the dust concentrations in the region is crucial. Stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI) geoengineering aims to reduce global warming by increasing the reflection of a small amount of the incoming solar radiation to space, hence reducing the global surface temperatures. Using the output from the Geoengineering Large Ensemble Project (GLENS), we show a reduction in the dust concentration in the MENA region under both the global warming (RCP8.5) and GLENS-SAI scenarios compared to the present-day climate. This reduction in dust over the whole MENA region is stronger under the SAI scenario, except over dust hotspots and for the dry season. In other words, in the summer, with the strongest dust events, more reduction has been projected for the global warming scenario compared to the SAI scenario. The maximum reduction in the dust concentrations in the MENA region (under both global warming and SAI) is due to the weakening of the dust hotspot emissions from the sources of the Middle East. Further analysis of the differences in the surface temperature, soil water, precipitation, leaf area index and near-surface wind speed provides some insights into the underlying physical mechanisms that determine the changes in the future dust concentrations in the MENA region. Detailed correlation analysis over dust hotspots indicates that lower future dust concentrations are controlled by lower wind speed and higher precipitation in these regions under both the RCP8.5 and SAI scenarios.
    Sep 26, 2023
  • Opinion: How fear of nuclear winter has helped save the world, so far
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Volume 23, Issue 12

    Alan Robock, Lili Xia, Cheryl S. Harrison, Joshua Coupe, Owen B. Toon, and Charles G. Bardeen

    Full Text

    The direct effects of nuclear war would be horrific, with blasts, fires, and radiation killing and injuring many people. But in 1983, United States and Soviet Union scientists showed that a nuclear war could also produce a nuclear winter, with catastrophic consequences for global food supplies for people far removed from the conflict. Smoke from fires ignited by nuclear weapons exploded on cities and industrial targets would block out sunlight, causing dark, cold, and dry surface conditions, producing a nuclear winter, with surface temperatures below freezing even in summer for years. Nuclear winter theory helped to end the nuclear arms race in the 1980s and helped to produce the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017, for which the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. Because awareness of nuclear winter is now widespread, nuclear nations have so far not used nuclear weapons. But the mere existence of nuclear weapons means that they can be used, by unstable leaders, accidently from technical malfunctions, such as in computers and sensors, due to human error, or by terrorists. Because they cannot be used without the danger of escalation (resulting in a global humanitarian catastrophe), because of recent threats to use them by Russia, and because nuclear deterrence doctrines of all nuclear-armed states are based on the capability and readiness to use nuclear weapons, it is even more urgent for scientists to study these issues, to broadly communicate their results, and to work for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
    Jun 19, 2023
  • Impact of solar geoengineering on wildfires in the 21st century in CESM2/WACCM6
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Volume 23, Issue 9

    Wenfu Tang, Simone Tilmes, David M. Lawrence, Fang Li, Cenlin He, Louisa K. Emmons, Rebecca R. Buchholz, and Lili Xia

    Full Text

    We quantify future changes in wildfire burned area and carbon emissions in the 21st century under four Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) scenarios and two SSP5-8.5-based solar geoengineering scenarios with a target surface temperature defined by SSP2-4.5 - solar irradiance reduction (G6solar) and stratospheric sulfate aerosol injections (G6sulfur) - and explore the mechanisms that drive solar geoengineering impacts on fires. This study is based on fully coupled climate-chemistry simulations with simulated occurrence of fires (burned area and carbon emissions) using the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model version 6 (WACCM6) as the atmospheric component of the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2). Globally, total wildfire burned area is projected to increase over the 21st century under scenarios without geoengineering and decrease under the two geoengineering scenarios. By the end of the century, the two geoengineering scenarios have lower burned area and fire carbon emissions than not only their base-climate scenario SSP5-8.5 but also the targeted-climate scenario SSP2-4.5.

    Geoengineering reduces wildfire occurrence by decreasing surface temperature and wind speed and increasing relative humidity and soil water, with the exception of boreal regions where geoengineering increases the occurrence of wildfires due to a decrease in relative humidity and soil water compared with the present day. This leads to a global reduction in burned area and fire carbon emissions by the end of the century relative to their base-climate scenario SSP5-8.5. However, geoengineering also yields reductions in precipitation compared with a warming climate, which offsets some of the fire reduction. Overall, the impacts of the different driving factors are larger on burned area than fire carbon emissions. In general, the stratospheric sulfate aerosol approach has a stronger fire-reducing effect than the solar irradiance reduction approach.

    May 16, 2023
  • Opinion: The scientific and community-building roles of the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) - past, present, and future
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Volume 23, Issue 9

    Daniele Visioni, Ben Kravitz, Alan Robock, Simone Tilmes, Jim Haywood, Olivier Boucher, Mark Lawrence, Peter Irvine, Ulrike Niemeier, Lili Xia, Gabriel Chiodo, Chris Lennard, Shingo Watanabe, John C. Moore, and Helene Muri

    Full Text

    The Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) is a coordinating framework, started in 2010, that includes a series of standardized climate model experiments aimed at understanding the physical processes and projected impacts of solar geoengineering. Numerous experiments have been conducted, and numerous more have been proposed as "test-bed" experiments, spanning a variety of geoengineering techniques aimed at modifying the planetary radiation budget: stratospheric aerosol injection, marine cloud brightening, surface albedo modification, cirrus cloud thinning, and sunshade mirrors. To date, more than 100 studies have been published that used results from GeoMIP simulations. Here we provide a critical assessment of GeoMIP and its experiments.

    We discuss its successes and missed opportunities, for instance in terms of which experiments elicited more interest from the scientific community and which did not, and the potential reasons why that happened. We also discuss the knowledge that GeoMIP has contributed to the field of geoengineering research and climate science as a whole: what have we learned in terms of intermodel differences, robustness of the projected outcomes for specific geoengineering methods, and future areas of model development that would be necessary in the future? We also offer multiple examples of cases where GeoMIP experiments were fundamental for international assessments of climate change.

    Finally, we provide a series of recommendations, regarding both future experiments and more general activities, with the goal of continuously deepening our understanding of the effects of potential geoengineering approaches and reducing uncertainties in climate outcomes, important for assessing wider impacts on societies and ecosystems. In doing so, we refine the purpose of GeoMIP and outline a series of criteria whereby GeoMIP can best serve its participants, stakeholders, and the broader science community.

    May 05, 2023
  • Global food insecurity and famine from reduced crop, marine fishery and livestock production due to climate disruption from nuclear war soot injection
    Nature Food 3, 586-596

    Lili Xia, Alan Robock, Kim Scherrer, Cheryl S. Harrison, Benjamin Leon Bodirsky, Isabelle Weindl, Jonas Jägermeyr, Charles G. Bardeen, Owen B. Toon and Ryan Heneghan

    Full Text

    Atmospheric soot loadings from nuclear weapon detonation would cause disruptions to the Earth's climate, limiting terrestrial and aquatic food production. Here, we use climate, crop and fishery models to estimate the impacts arising from six scenarios of stratospheric soot injection, predicting the total food calories available in each nation post-war after stored food is consumed. In quantifying impacts away from target areas, we demonstrate that soot injections larger than 5 Tg would lead to mass food shortages, and livestock and aquatic food production would be unable to compensate for reduced crop output, in almost all countries. Adaptation measures such as food waste reduction would have limited impact on increasing available calories. We estimate more than 2 billion people could die from nuclear war between India and Pakistan, and more than 5 billion could die from a war between the United States and Russia-underlining the importance of global cooperation in preventing nuclear war.
    Aug 15, 2022
  • Economic incentives modify agricultural impacts of nuclear war
    Environmental Research Letters

    Gal Hochman, Hainan Zhang, Lili Xia, Alan Robock, Aleti Saketh, Dominique Y van der Mensbrugghe and Jonas Jägermeyr

    Full Text

    A nuclear war using less than 1% of the current global nuclear arsenal, which would inject 5 Tg of soot into the stratosphere, could produce climate change unprecedented in recorded human history and significant impacts on agricultural productivity and the economy. These effects would be most severe for the first five years after the nuclear war and may last for more than a decade. This paper calculates how food availability would change by employing the Environmental Impact and Sustainability Applied General Equilibrium model. Under a robust world trading system, global food availability would drop by a few percentage points. If the war would destabilize trade, it would magnify by several times the negative ramifications of land productivity shocks on food availability. If exporting countries redirect production to domestic consumption at the expense of importing countries, it would lead to the destabilization of international trade. The analysis suggests that economic models aiming to inform policymakers require both economic behavior analysis and biophysical drivers. Policy lessons derived from a crop model can be significantly nuanced when coupled with economic feedback derived from economic models. Through the impact on yield, farmers could shift production among crops and reallocate land use to maximize profits, showing the importance of general equilibrium effects such as product and input substitution and international trade. Although the global impact on corn and soybean production would be significant when just considering crop production, it could be considerably smaller under the economic model. However, this would be at the expense of other sectors, including livestock. In addition, the costs borne from disruptions to climate would vary significantly across regions, with significant adverse effects in high latitude regions. The severity of the shocks in the high-latitude areas would marginalize the farmers' product and input substitution ability.
    Apr 19, 2022
  • Extreme Ozone Loss Following Nuclear War Results in Enhanced Surface Ultraviolet Radiation
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres Volume 126, Issue 18

    Charles G. Bardeen, Douglas E. Kinnison, Owen B. Toon, Michael J. Mills, Francis Vitt, Lili Xia, Jonas Jägermeyr, Nicole S. Lovenduski, Kim J. N. Scherrer, Margot Clyne, Alan Robock

    Full Text

    For the first time, we use a modern climate model with interactive chemistry including the effects of aerosols on photolysis rates to simulate the consequences of regional and global scale nuclear wars (injecting 5 and 150 Tg of soot respectively) for the ozone layer and surface ultraviolet (UV) light. For a global nuclear war, heating in the stratosphere, reduced photolysis, and an increase in catalytic loss from the HOx cycle cause a 15 year-long reduction in the ozone column, with a peak loss of 75% globally and 65% in the tropics. This is larger than predictions from the 1980s, which assumed large injections of nitrogen oxides (NOx), but did not include the effects of smoke. NOx from the fireball and the fires provide a small (5%) increase to the global average ozone loss for the first few years. Initially, soot would shield the surface from UV-B, but UV Index values would become extreme: greater than 35 in the tropics for 4 years, and greater than 45 during the summer in the southern polar regions for 3 years. For a regional war, global column ozone would be reduced by 25% with recovery taking 12 years. This is similar to previous simulations, but with a faster recovery time due to a shorter lifetime for soot in our simulations. In-line photolysis provides process specific action spectra enabling future integration with biogeochemistry models and allows output that quantifies the potential health impacts from changes in surface UV for this and other larger aerosol injections.

    Sep 10, 2021
  • Potential ecological impacts of climate intervention by reflecting sunlight to cool Earth
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118 (15) e1921854118

    Phoebe L. Zarnetske, Jessica Gurevitch, Janet Franklin, Peter M. Groffman, Cheryl S. Harrison, Jessica J. Hellmann, Forrest M. Hoffman, Shan Kothari, Alan Robock, Simone Tilmes, Daniele Visioni, Jin Wu, Lili Xia, and Cheng-En Yang

    Full Text

    As the effects of anthropogenic climate change become more severe, several approaches for deliberate climate intervention to reduce or stabilize Earth's surface temperature have been proposed. Solar radiation modification (SRM) is one potential approach to partially counteract anthropogenic warming by reflecting a small proportion of the incoming solar radiation to increase Earth's albedo. While climate science research has focused on the predicted climate effects of SRM, almost no studies have investigated the impacts that SRM would have on ecological systems. The impacts and risks posed by SRM would vary by implementation scenario, anthropogenic climate effects, geographic region, and by ecosystem, community, population, and organism. Complex interactions among Earth's climate system and living systems would further affect SRM impacts and risks. We focus here on stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI), a well-studied and relatively feasible SRM scheme that is likely to have a large impact on Earth's surface temperature. We outline current gaps in knowledge about both helpful and harmful predicted effects of SAI on ecological systems. Desired ecological outcomes might also inform development of future SAI implementation scenarios. In addition to filling these knowledge gaps, increased collaboration between ecologists and climate scientists would identify a common set of SAI research goals and improve the communication about potential SAI impacts and risks with the public. Without this collaboration, forecasts of SAI impacts will overlook potential effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services for humanity.
    Apr 05, 2021
  • Improving Models for Solar Climate Intervention Research

    S. Eastham, S. Doherty, D. Keith, J. H. Richter and Lili Xia

    Full Text

    Modern climate models were designed to simulate natural systems and changes mainly due to atmospheric carbon dioxide, rather than to predict effects of deliberate climate interventions.
    Mar 19, 2021
  • Marine wild-capture fisheries after nuclear war
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (47) 29748-29758

    Kim J. N. Scherrer, Cheryl S. Harrison, Ryan F. Heneghan, Eric Galbraith, Charles G. Bardeen, Joshua Coupe, Jonas Jägermeyr, Nicole S. Lovenduski, August Luna, Alan Robock, Jessica Stevens, Samantha Stevenson, Owen B. Toon, and Lili Xia

    Full Text

    Nuclear war, beyond its devastating direct impacts, is expected to cause global climatic perturbations through injections of soot into the upper atmosphere. Reduced temperature and sunlight could drive unprecedented reductions in agricultural production, endangering global food security. However, the effects of nuclear war on marine wild-capture fisheries, which significantly contribute to the global animal protein and micronutrient supply, remain unexplored. We simulate the climatic effects of six war scenarios on fish biomass and catch globally, using a state-of-the-art Earth system model and global process-based fisheries model. We also simulate how either rapidly increased fish demand (driven by food shortages) or decreased ability to fish (due to infrastructure disruptions), would affect global catches, and test the benefits of strong prewar fisheries management. We find a decade-long negative climatic impact that intensifies with soot emissions, with global biomass and catch falling by up to 18 ± 3% and 29 ± 7% after a US-Russia war under business-as-usual fishing-similar in magnitude to the end-of-century declines under unmitigated global warming. When war occurs in an overfished state, increasing demand increases short-term (1 to 2 y) catch by at most ~30% followed by precipitous declines of up to ~70%, thus offsetting only a minor fraction of agricultural losses. However, effective prewar management that rebuilds fish biomass could ensure a short-term catch buffer large enough to replace ~43 ± 35% of today's global animal protein production. This buffering function in the event of a global food emergency adds to the many previously known economic and ecological benefits of effective and precautionary fisheries management.
    Nov 09, 2020
  • Assessing terrestrial biogeochemical feedbacks in a strategically geoengineered climate
    Environmental Research Letters

    Cheng-En Yang, Forrest M Hoffman, Daniel M Ricciuto, Simone Tilmes, Lili Xia, Douglas G MacMartin, Ben Kravitz, Jadwiga H Richter, Michael Mills and Joshua S Fu

    Full Text

    Geoengineering by injecting sulfur dioxide (SO2) into the lower stratosphere has been suggested to reduce anthropogenically induced warming. While impacts of such geoengineering on climate have been investigated in recent decades, few modeling studies have considered biogeochemical feedbacks resulting from such intervention. This study comprehensively characterizes responses and feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems, from an ensemble of coupled high-resolution Earth system model climate change simulations, under the highest standard greenhouse gas scenario with an extreme geoengineering mitigation strategy. Under this strategy, temperature increases beyond 2020 levels due to elevated anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) were completely offset by the SO2 injection. Carbon cycle feedbacks can alter the trajectory of atmospheric CO2 levels by storing or releasing additional carbon on land and in the ocean, thus moderating or amplifying climate change. We assess terrestrial biogeochemical feedbacks to climate in response to geoengineering, using model output from the Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering Large Ensemble (GLENS) project. Results indicate terrestrial ecosystems become a stronger carbon sink globally because of lower ecosystem respiration and diminished disturbance effects under geoengineering. An additional 79 Pg C would be stored on land by the end of the twenty-first century, yielding as much as a 4% reduction in atmospheric CO2 mole fraction without marine biogeochemical feedbacks, compared to the high greenhouse gas scenario without geoengineering.

    Sep 28, 2020
  • What goes up must come down: impacts of deposition in a sulfate geoengineering scenario
    Environmental Research Letters Volume 15, Number 9

    Daniele Visioni, Eric Slessarev, Douglas G MacMartin, Natalie M Mahowald, Christine L Goodale, and Lili Xia

    Full Text

    The problem of reducing the impacts of rising anthropogenic greenhouse gas on warming temperatures has led to the proposal of using stratospheric aerosols to reflect some of the incoming solar radiation back to space. The deliberate injection of sulfur into the stratosphere to form stratospheric sulfate aerosols, emulating volcanoes, will result in sulfate deposition to the surface. We consider here an extreme sulfate geoengineering scenario necessary to maintain temperatures at 2020 levels while greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow unabated. We show that the amount of stratospheric sulfate needed could be globally balanced by the predicted decrease in tropospheric anthropogenic SO2 emissions, but the spatial distribution would move from industrialized regions to pristine areas. We show how these changes would affect ecosystems differently depending on present day observations of soil pH, which we use to infer the potential for acid-induced aluminum toxicity across the planet.

    Aug 26, 2020
  • Climate engineering to mitigate the projected 21st-century terrestrial drying of the Americas: a direct comparison of carbon capture and sulfur injection
    Earth System Dynamics Volume 11, Issue 3

    Yangyang Xu, Lei Lin, Simone Tilmes, Katherine Dagon, Lili Xia, Chenrui Diao, Wei Cheng, Zhili Wang, Isla Simpson, and Lorna Burnell

    Full Text

    To mitigate the projected global warming in the 21st century, it is well-recognized that society needs to cut CO2 emissions and other short-lived warming agents aggressively. However, to stabilize the climate at a warming level closer to the present day, such as the "well below 2°C" aspiration in the Paris Agreement, a net-zero carbon emission by 2050 is still insufficient. The recent IPCC special report calls for a massive scheme to extract CO2 directly from the atmosphere, in addition to decarbonization, to reach negative net emissions at the mid-century mark. Another ambitious proposal is solar-radiation-based geoengineering schemes, including injecting sulfur gas into the stratosphere. Despite being in public debate for years, these two leading geoengineering schemes have not been directly compared under a consistent analytical framework using global climate models.

    Here we present the first explicit analysis of the hydroclimate impacts of these two geoengineering approaches using two recently available large-ensemble (>10 members) model experiments conducted by a family of state-of-the-art Earth system models. The CO2-based mitigation simulation is designed to include both emission cuts and carbon capture. The solar-radiation-based mitigation simulation is designed to inject sulfur gas strategically at specified altitudes and latitudes and run a feedback control algorithm to avoid common problems previously identified such as the overcooling of the tropics and large-scale precipitation shifts.

    Our analysis focuses on the projected aridity conditions over the Americas in the 21st century in detailed terms of the potential mitigation benefits, the temporal evolution, the spatial distribution (within North and South America), the relative efficiency, and the physical mechanisms. We show that sulfur injection, in contrast to previous notions of leading to excessive terrestrial drying (in terms of precipitation reduction) while offsetting the global mean greenhouse gas (GHG) warming, will instead mitigate the projected drying tendency under RCP8.5. The surface energy balance change induced by sulfur injection, in addition to the well-known response in temperature and precipitation, plays a crucial role in determining the overall terrestrial hydroclimate response. However, when normalized by the same amount of avoided global warming in these simulations, sulfur injection is less effective in curbing the worsening trend of regional land aridity in the Americas under RCP8.5 when compared with carbon capture. Temporally, the climate benefit of sulfur injection will emerge more quickly, even when both schemes are hypothetically started in the same year of 2020. Spatially, both schemes are effective in curbing the drying trend over North America. However, for South America, the sulfur injection scheme is particularly more effective for the sub-Amazon region (southern Brazil), while the carbon capture scheme is more effective for the Amazon region. We conclude that despite the apparent limitations (such as an inability to address ocean acidification) and potential side effects (such as changes to the ozone layer), innovative means of sulfur injection should continue to be explored as a potential low-cost option in the climate solution toolbox, complementing other mitigation approaches such as emission cuts and carbon capture (Cao et al., 2017). Our results demonstrate the urgent need for multi-model comparison studies and detailed regional assessments in other parts of the world.

    Jul 31, 2020
  • Reaching 1.5 and 2.0°C global surface temperature targets using stratospheric aerosol geoengineering
    Earth System Dynamics 11, 579-601

    Simone Tilmes, Douglas G. MacMartin, Jan T. M. Lenaerts, Leo van Kampenhout, Laura Muntjewerf, Lili Xia, Cheryl S. Harrison, Kristen M. Krumhardt, Michael J. Mills, Ben Kravitz, and Alan Robock

    Full Text

    A new set of stratospheric aerosol geoengineering (SAG) model experiments has been performed with Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) with the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM6) that are based on the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP6) overshoot scenario (SSP5-34-OS) as a baseline scenario to limit global warming to 1.5 or 2.0°C above 1850-1900 conditions. The overshoot scenario allows us to applying a peak-shaving scenario that reduces the needed duration and amount of SAG application compared to a high forcing scenario. In addition, a feedback algorithm identifies the needed amount of sulfur dioxide injections in the stratosphere at four pre-defined latitudes, 30°N, 15°N, 15°S, and 30°S, to reach three surface temperature targets: global mean temperature, and interhemispheric and pole-to-Equator temperature gradients. These targets further help to reduce side effects, including overcooling in the tropics, warming of high latitudes, and large shifts in precipitation patterns. These experiments are therefore relevant for investigating the impacts on society and ecosystems. Comparisons to SAG simulations based on a high emission pathway baseline scenario (SSP5-85) are also performed to investigate the dependency of impacts using different injection amounts to offset surface warming by SAG. We find that changes from present-day conditions around 2020 in some variables depend strongly on the defined temperature target (1.5°C vs. 2.0°C). These include surface air temperature and related impacts, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which impacts ocean net primary productivity, and changes in ice sheet surface mass balance, which impacts sea level rise. Others, including global precipitation changes and the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, depend strongly on the amount of SAG application. Furthermore, land net primary productivity as well as ocean acidification depend mostly on the global atmospheric CO2 concentration and therefore the baseline scenario. Multi-model comparisons of experiments that include strong mitigation and carbon dioxide removal with some SAG application are proposed to assess the robustness of impacts on societies and ecosystems.

    Jul 14, 2020
  • A regional nuclear conflict would compromise global food security
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (13) 7071-7081

    Jägermeyr, Jonas, Alan Robock, Joshua Elliott, Christoph Müller, Lili Xia, Nikolay Khabarov, Christian Folberth, Erwin Schmid, Wenfeng Liu, Florian Zabel, Sam S. Rabin, Michael J. Puma, Alison C. Heslin, James Franke, Ian Foster, Senthold Asseng, Charles G.Bardeen, Owen B. Toon, and Cynthia Rosenzweig

    Full Text

    A limited nuclear war between India and Pakistan could ignite fires large enough to emit more than 5 Tg of soot into the stratosphere. Climate model simulations have shown severe resulting climate perturbations with declines in global mean temperature by 1.8°C and precipitation by 8%, for at least 5 y. Here we evaluate impacts for the global food system. Six harmonized state-of-the-art crop models show that global caloric production from maize, wheat, rice, and soybean falls by 13 (±1)%, 11 (±8)%, 3 (±5)%, and 17 (±2)% over 5 y. Total single-year losses of 12 (±4)% quadruple the largest observed historical anomaly and exceed impacts caused by historic droughts and volcanic eruptions. Colder temperatures drive losses more than changes in precipitation and solar radiation, leading to strongest impacts in temperate regions poleward of 30°N, including the United States, Europe, and China for 10 to 15 y. Integrated food trade network analyses show that domestic reserves and global trade can largely buffer the production anomaly in the first year. Persistent multiyear losses, however, would constrain domestic food availability and propagate to the Global South, especially to food-insecure countries. By year 5, maize and wheat availability would decrease by 13% globally and by more than 20% in 71 countries with a cumulative population of 1.3 billion people. In view of increasing instability in South Asia, this study shows that a regional conflict using <1% of the worldwide nuclear arsenal could have adverse consequences for global food security unmatched in modern history.
    Mar 31, 2020
  • How an India-Pakistan nuclear war could start-and have global consequences
    Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 117 (13) 7071-7081

    Alan Robock, Owen B. Toon, Charles G. Bardeen, Lili Xia, Hans M. Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie, R. J. Peterson, Cheryl S. Harrison, Nicole S. Lovenduski and Richard P. Turco

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    This article describes how an India-Pakistan nuclear war might come to pass, and what the local and global effects of such a war might be. The direct effects of this nuclear exchange would be horrible; the authors estimate that 50 to 125 million people would die, depending on whether the weapons used had yields of 15, 50, or 100 kilotons. The ramifications for Indian and Pakistani society would be major and long lasting, with many major cities largely destroyed and uninhabitable, millions of injured people needing care, and power, transportation, and financial infrastructure in ruins. But the climatic effects of the smoke produced by an India-Pakistan nuclear war would not be confined to the subcontinent, or even to Asia. Those effects would be enormous and global in scope.
    Oct 28, 2019
  • Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe
    Science Advances Volume 5, no. 10, 5478

    Owen B. Toon, Charles G. Bardeen, Alan Robock, Lili Xia, Hans M. Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie, R. J. Peterson, Cheryl S. Harrison, Nicole S. Lovenduski and Richard P. Turco

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    Pakistan and India may have 400 to 500 nuclear weapons by 2025 with yields from tested 12- to 45-kt values to a few hundred kilotons. If India uses 100 strategic weapons to attack urban centers and Pakistan uses 150, fatalities could reach 50 to 125 million people, and nuclear-ignited fires could release 16 to 36 Tg of black carbon in smoke, depending on yield. The smoke will rise into the upper troposphere, be self-lofted into the stratosphere, and spread globally within weeks. Surface sunlight will decline by 20 to 35%, cooling the global surface by 2 to 5°C and reducing precipitation by 15 to 30%, with larger regional impacts. Recovery takes more than 10 years. Net primary productivity declines 15 to 30% on land and 5 to 15% in oceans threatening mass starvation and additional worldwide collateral fatalities.
    Oct 02, 2019
  • Climatic Consequences and Agricultural Impacts of Nuclear Conflicts
    Global Change and Future Earth - The Geoscience Perspective Chapter 24, 328-340, ISBN: 978-1107171596, Cambridge University Press

    Owen B. Toon, Alan Robock, Michael Mills, Lili Xia, Charles Bardeen

    Sep 30, 2018
  • Ecological, Agricultural, and Health Impacts of Solar Geoengineering
    Resilience - The Science of Adaptation to Climate Change Chapter 24, 292-304, ISBN: 978-0128118917, Elsevier

    Christopher H. Trisos, Corey Gabriel, Alan Robock, Lili Xia

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    Slow progress reducing greenhouse gas emissions has increased attention on whether solar radiation management (SRM) geoengineering is a feasible and affordable tool to cool Earth, buying time for additional adaptation and mitigation efforts. Climate responses to several idealized SRM simulations have been studied in detail. In contrast, evaluating the plausibility of different SRM scenarios remains difficult and more collaboration between natural and social scientists is required. Moreover, the environmental and social impacts remain essentially unknown. We review evidence on impacts across stratospheric aerosol injection and marine cloud brightening technologies and scenarios. Rapid SRM termination, resulting in rapid climate change, would significantly increase threats to global biodiversity and ecosystems from climate change, especially in the tropics. In contrast, more measured use of SRM could reduce some climate risks for biodiversity but further research is needed. Agricultural impacts from geoengineering are predicted to be complicated. In general, cooling from SRM would benefit most crops but precipitation reductions could have negative impacts on rice and groundnuts in Asia. SRM strategies may also have impacts on human health from aerosol deposition at the surface.
    May 09, 2018
  • Potentially dangerous consequences for biodiversity of solar geoengineering implementation and termination
    Nature Ecology & Evolution 2, 475-482

    Christopher H. Trisos, Giuseppe Amatulli, Jessica Gurevitch, Alan Robock, Lili Xia and Brian Zambri

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    Solar geoengineering is receiving increased policy attention as a potential tool to offset climate warming. While climate responses to geoengineering have been studied in detail, the potential biodiversity consequences are largely unknown. To avoid extinction, species must either adapt or move to track shifting climates. Here, we assess the effects of the rapid implementation, continuation and sudden termination of geoengineering on climate velocities-the speeds and directions that species would need to move to track changes in climate. Compared to a moderate climate change scenario (RCP4.5), rapid geoengineering implementation reduces temperature velocities towards zero in terrestrial biodiversity hotspots. In contrast, sudden termination increases both ocean and land temperature velocities to unprecedented speeds (global medians >10 km yr-1) that are more than double the temperature velocities for recent and future climate change in global biodiversity hotspots. Furthermore, as climate velocities more than double in speed, rapid climate fragmentation occurs in biomes such as temperate grasslands and forests where temperature and precipitation velocity vectors diverge spatially by >90°. Rapid geoengineering termination would significantly increase the threats to biodiversity from climate change.

    Jan 22, 2018
  • Impacts of stratospheric sulfate geoengineering on tropospheric ozone
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 17, 11913-11928

    Lili Xia, Peer J. Nowack, Simone Tilmes, and Alan Robock

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    A range of solar radiation management (SRM) techniques has been proposed to counter anthropogenic climate change. Here, we examine the potential effects of stratospheric sulfate aerosols and solar insolation reduction on tropospheric ozone and ozone at Earth's surface. Ozone is a key air pollutant, which can produce respiratory diseases and crop damage. Using a version of the Community Earth System Model from the National Center for Atmospheric Research that includes comprehensive tropospheric and stratospheric chemistry, we model both stratospheric sulfur injection and solar irradiance reduction schemes, with the aim of achieving equal levels of surface cooling relative to the Representative Concentration Pathway 6.0 scenario. This allows us to compare the impacts of sulfate aerosols and solar dimming on atmospheric ozone concentrations. Despite nearly identical global mean surface temperatures for the two SRM approaches, solar insolation reduction increases global average surface ozone concentrations, while sulfate injection decreases it. A fundamental difference between the two geoengineering schemes is the importance of heterogeneous reactions in the photochemical ozone balance with larger stratospheric sulfate abundance, resulting in increased ozone depletion in mid- and high latitudes. This reduces the net transport of stratospheric ozone into the troposphere and thus is a key driver of the overall decrease in surface ozone. At the same time, the change in stratospheric ozone alters the tropospheric photochemical environment due to enhanced ultraviolet radiation. A shared factor among both SRM scenarios is decreased chemical ozone loss due to reduced tropospheric humidity. Under insolation reduction, this is the dominant factor giving rise to the global surface ozone increase. Regionally, both surface ozone increases and decreases are found for both scenarios; that is, SRM would affect regions of the world differently in terms of air pollution. In conclusion, surface ozone and tropospheric chemistry would likely be affected by SRM, but the overall effect is strongly dependent on the SRM scheme. Due to the health and economic impacts of surface ozone, all these impacts should be taken into account in evaluations of possible consequences of SRM.
    Oct 09, 2017
  • The Asia-Pacific's role in the emerging solar geoengineering debate
    Climatic Change 143, 1-12

    Masahiro Sugiyama, Shinichiro Asayama, Atsushi Ishii, Takanobu Kosugi, John C. Moore, Jolene Lin, Penehuro F. Lefale, Wil Burns, Masatomo Fujiwara, Arunabha Ghosh, Joshua Horton, Atsushi Kurosawa, Andy Parker, Michael Thompson, Pak-Hang Wong and Lili Xia

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    Increasing interest in climate engineering in recent years has led to calls by the international research community for international research collaboration as well as global public engagement. But making such collaboration a reality is challenging. Here, we report the summary of a 2016 workshop on the significance and challenges of international collaboration on climate engineering research with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Because of the region's interest in benefits and risks of climate engineering, there is a potential synergy between impact research on anthropogenic global warming and that on solar radiation management. Local researchers in the region can help make progress toward better understanding of impacts of solar radiation management. These activities can be guided by an ad hoc Asia-Pacific working group on climate engineering, a voluntary expert network. The working group can foster regional conversations in a sustained manner while contributing to capacity building. An important theme in the regional conversation is to develop effective practices of dialogues in light of local backgrounds such as cultural traditions and past experiences of large-scale technology development. Our recommendation merely portrays one of several possible ways forward, and it is our hope to stimulate the debate in the region.
    Jun 04, 2017
  • Asia Treads the Nuclear Path, Unaware That Self-Assured Destruction Would Result from Nuclear War
    The Journal of Asian Studies Volume 76, Issue 2, 437-456

    Owen B. Toon, Alan Robock, Michael Mills and Lili Xia

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    Of the nine countries known to have nuclear weapons, six are located in Asia and another, the United States, borders the Pacific Ocean. Russia and China were the first Asian nations with nuclear weapons, followed by Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Most of the world's nuclear powers are reducing their arsenals or maintaining them at historic levels, but several of those in Asia-India, Pakistan, and North Korea-continue to pursue relentless and expensive programs of nuclear weapons development and production. Hopefully, the nuclear agreement reached in July 2015 between Iran, the European Union, and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council will be a step toward eliminating nuclear weapons throughout Asia and the rest of the world. As we will discuss below, any country possessing a nuclear arsenal is on a path leading toward self-assured destruction, and is a threat to people everywhere on Earth.
    May 22, 2017
  • The G4Foam Experiment: global climate impacts of regional ocean albedo modification
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 17, 595-613

    Corey J. Gabriel, Alan Robock, Lili Xia, Brian Zambri, and Ben Kravitz

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    Reducing insolation has been proposed as a geoengineering response to global warming. Here we present the results of climate model simulations of a unique Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project Testbed experiment to investigate the benefits and risks of a scheme that would brighten certain oceanic regions. The National Center for Atmospheric Research CESM CAM4-Chem global climate model was modified to simulate a scheme in which the albedo of the ocean surface is increased over the subtropical ocean gyres in the Southern Hemisphere. In theory, this could be accomplished using a stable, nondispersive foam, comprised of tiny, highly reflective microbubbles. Such a foam has been developed under idealized conditions, although deployment at a large scale is presently infeasible. We conducted three ensemble members of a simulation (G4Foam) from 2020 through to 2069 in which the albedo of the ocean surface is set to 0.15 (an increase of 150%) over the three subtropical ocean gyres in the Southern Hemisphere, against a background of the RCP6.0 (representative concentration pathway resulting in +6 W m-2 radiative forcing by 2100) scenario. After 2069, geoengineering is ceased, and the simulation is run for an additional 20 years. Global mean surface temperature in G4Foam is 0.6 K lower than RCP6.0, with statistically significant cooling relative to RCP6.0 south of 30°N. There is an increase in rainfall over land, most pronouncedly in the tropics during the June-July-August season, relative to both G4SSA (specified stratospheric aerosols) and RCP6.0. Heavily populated and highly cultivated regions throughout the tropics, including the Sahel, southern Asia, the Maritime Continent, Central America, and much of the Amazon experience a statistically significant increase in precipitation minus evaporation. The temperature response to the relatively modest global average forcing of -1.5 W m-2 is amplified through a series of positive cloud feedbacks, in which more shortwave radiation is reflected. The precipitation response is primarily the result of the intensification of the southern Hadley cell, as its mean position migrates northward and away from the Equator in response to the asymmetric cooling.

    Jan 12, 2017
  • Stratospheric sulfate geoengineering could enhance the terrestrial photosynthesis rate
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 16, 1479-1489

    Lili Xia, Alan Robock, Simone Tilmes, and Ryan R. Neely III

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    Stratospheric sulfate geoengineering could impact the terrestrial carbon cycle by enhancing the carbon sink. With an 8 Tg yr-1 injection of SO2 to produce a stratospheric aerosol cloud to balance anthropogenic radiative forcing from the Representative Concentration Pathway 6.0 (RCP6.0) scenario, we conducted climate model simulations with the Community Earth System Model - the Community Atmospheric Model 4 fully coupled to tropospheric and stratospheric chemistry (CAM4-chem). During the geoengineering period, as compared to RCP6.0, land-averaged downward visible (300-700 nm) diffuse radiation increased 3.2 W m-2 (11%). The enhanced diffuse radiation combined with the cooling increased plant photosynthesis by 0.07 ± 0.02 µmol C m-2 s-1, which could contribute to an additional 3.8 ± 1.1 Gt C yr-1 global gross primary productivity without explicit nutrient limitation. This increase could potentially increase the land carbon sink. Suppressed plant and soil respiration due to the cooling would reduce natural land carbon emission and therefore further enhance the terrestrial carbon sink during the geoengineering period. This potentially beneficial impact of stratospheric sulfate geoengineering would need to be balanced by a large number of potential risks in any future decisions about the implementation of geoengineering.

    Feb 10, 2016
  • Decadal reduction of Chinese agriculture after a regional nuclear war
    Earth's Future Volume 3, Issue 2, 37-48

    Lili Xia, Alan Robock, Michael Mills, Andrea Stenke, and Ira Helfand

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    A regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan could decrease global surface temperature by 1°C-2°C for 5-10 years and have major impacts on precipitation and solar radiation reaching Earth's surface. Using a crop simulation model forced by three global climate model simulations, we investigate the impacts on agricultural production in China, the largest grain producer in the world. In the first year after the regional nuclear war, a cooler, drier, and darker environment would reduce annual rice production by 30 megaton (Mt) (29%), maize production by 36 Mt (20%), and wheat production by 23 Mt (53%). With different agriculture management-no irrigation, auto irrigation, 200 kg/ha nitrogen fertilizer, and 10 days delayed planting date-simulated national crop production reduces 16%-26% for rice, 9%-20% for maize, and 32%-43% for wheat during 5 years after the nuclear war event. This reduction of food availability would continue, with gradually decreasing amplitude, for more than a decade. Assuming these impacts are indicative of those in other major grain producers, a nuclear war using much less than 1% of the current global arsenal could produce a global food crisis and put a billion people at risk of famine.
    Jan 05, 2015
  • Solar radiation management impacts on agriculture in China: A case study in the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP)
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 119, 8695-8711

    Lili Xia, Alan Robock, Jason Cole, Charles L. Curry, Duoying Ji, Andy Jones, Ben Kravitz, John C. Moore, Helene Muri, Ulrike Niemeier, Balwinder Singh, Simone Tilmes, Shingo Watanabe, and Jin-Ho Yoon

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    Geoengineering via solar radiation management could affect agricultural productivity due to changes in temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation. To study rice and maize production changes in China, we used results from 10 climate models participating in the Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) G2 scenario to force the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) crop model. G2 prescribes an insolation reduction to balance a 1% a-1 increase in CO2 concentration (1pctCO2) for 50 years. We first evaluated the DSSAT model using 30 years (1978-2007) of daily observed weather records and agriculture practices for 25 major agriculture provinces in China and compared the results to observations of yield. We then created three sets of climate forcing for 42 locations in China for DSSAT from each climate model experiment: (1) 1pctCO2, (2) G2, and (3) G2 with constant CO2 concentration (409 ppm) and compared the resulting agricultural responses. In the DSSAT simulations: (1) Without changing management practices, the combined effect of simulated climate changes due to geoengineering and CO2 fertilization during the last 15 years of solar reduction would change rice production in China by -3.0 ± 4.0 megaton (Mt) (2.4 ± 4.0%) as compared with 1pctCO2 and increase Chinese maize production by 18.1 ± 6.0 Mt (13.9 ± 5.9%). (2) The termination of geoengineering shows negligible impacts on rice production but a 19.6 Mt (11.9%) reduction of maize production as compared to the last 15 years of geoengineering. (3) The CO2 fertilization effect compensates for the deleterious impacts of changes in temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation due to geoengineering on rice production, increasing rice production by 8.6 Mt. The elevated CO2 concentration enhances maize production in G2, contributing 7.7 Mt (42.4%) to the total increase. Using the DSSAT crop model, virtually all of the climate models agree on the sign of the responses, even though the spread across models is large. This suggests that solar radiation management would have little impact on rice production in China but could increase maize production.

    Jun 29, 2014
  • Impacts of a nuclear war in South Asia on rice production in Mainland China
    Climatic Change 116, 357-372

    Lili Xia, Alan Robock

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    A regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan with a 5 Tg black carbon injection into the upper troposphere would produce significant climate changes for a decade, including cooling, reduction of solar radiation, and reduction of precipitation, which are all important factors controlling agricultural productivity. We used the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer agricultural simulation model to simulate regional nuclear war impacts on rice yield in 24 provinces in China. We first evaluated the model by forcing it with daily weather data and management practices for the period 1980-2008 for 24 provinces in China, and compared the results to observations of rice yields in China. Then we perturbed observed weather data using climate anomalies for a 10-year period from a nuclear war simulation. We perturbed each year of the 30-year climate record with anomalies from each year of the 10-year nuclear war simulations for different regions in China. We found that rice production would decline by an average of 21% for the first 4 years after soot injection, and would slowly recover in the following years. For the next 6 years, the reduction in rice production was about 10%. Different regions responded differently to climate changes from nuclear war. Rice production in northern China was damaged severely, while regions along the south and east coasts showed a positive response to regional nuclear war. Although we might try to adapt to a perturbed climate by enhancing rice planting activity in southern and eastern China or increasing fertilizer usage, both methods have severe limitations. The best solution to avoid nuclear war impacts on agriculture is to avoid nuclear war, and this can only be guaranteed with a nuclear-weapon-free world.

    May 05, 2012
  • Characterization of trace elements in PM2.5 aerosols in the vicinity of highways in northeast New Jersey in the U.S. east coast
    Atmospheric Pollution Research Volume 2, Issue 1, 34-44

    Lili Xia, Yuan Gao

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    To characterize the spatial and temporal variations of atmospheric concentrations of trace elements in particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5) derived from vehicle emissions, aerosol sampling was conducted near the heavily trafficked New Jersey Turnpike (NJTPK) at East Rutherford, New Jersey in the U.S. east coast from September 2007 to September 2008. Aerosol samples were collected by Partisol-FRM Model 2000 air samplers at three sites within 150 m away from the NJTPK and analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Concentrations of 13 trace elements (i.e., aluminum, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, antimony, scandium, vanadium and zinc) varied as a function of distance away from NJTPK within 150 m. The concentrations of Al, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe and Pb along the three sites decreased significantly away from the highway. In contrast, the concentrations of Mn, Sb, and Sc showed significantly positive correlations with distance. There were not clear concentration trends for Co, Ni, V and Zn with distance. Most trace elements showed slightly higher concentrations in spring and summer, except for Ni that was more enriched in the fall and winter. All measured trace elements showed higher concentrations on weekdays than on weekends, indicating high impact of traffic emissions on air pollution. In both summer and winter, most trace elements were enriched in daytime aerosols, and this trend was stronger in the winter. Meteorological conditions, mainly wind speed and wind direction, were found to affect the spatial and temporal concentration variations of trace elements in the ambient air at this location.
    Jan 01, 2011
  • Chemical composition and size distributions of coastal aerosols observed on the US East Coast
    Marine Chemistry Volume 119, Issues 1-4, 77-90

    Lili Xia, Yuan Gao

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    Characterization of coastal aerosols is important to the study of the atmospheric input of nutrients to the adjacent marine and the ocean ecosystems. Over a land-ocean transition zone, however, aerosol composition could be strongly modified by anthropogenic emissions and transport processes. This work focuses on examining aerosol properties, in particular chemical composition, particle-size distributions and iron (Fe) solubility, over the US East Coast, an important boundary for the transport of continental substances from North America to the North Atlantic Ocean. Fourteen sets of bulk aerosol samples and three sets of size-segregated aerosol samples were collected in southern New Jersey on the US East Coast during 2007 and 2008. Samples were analyzed by IC, ICP-MS and UV spectroscopy. The major chemical components were nitrate, non-sea-salt sulfate (NSS-sulfate), ammonium, sodium and chloride, accounting for ~70% of the total mass. A typical bimodal mass-size distribution was observed, with the major peak from 0.36 µm to 0.56 µm and the minor one from 3.6 µm to 5.6 µm in diameters. Different individual components showed different mass-size distributions. Pollution-derived substances, such as vanadium and NSS-sulfate of non-biogenic origin, were mostly in the fine mode, while crustal elements, such as aluminum and iron, were mainly in the coarse mode. At this location, the concentrations of soluble ferrous species (Fe(II)s) in aerosols ranged from 50 to 518 pmol m-3, accounting for ~17% of the total Fe (FeT) mass in bulk samples. The average Fe solubility observed at this location was 18%, higher than those over remote oceans. Fe solubility showed an inverse correlation with FeT concentrations, which could be the result of different particle sizes. In addition, high Fe solubility was associated with high molar ratios of NSS-sulfate to FeT and oxalate to FeT, indicating that inorganic and organic acidic components and anthropogenic emissions may highly affect Fe solubility in this region.

    Apr 20, 2010