Latitudinal variation of the effect of aviation NOx emissions on atmospheric ozone and methane and related climate metrics

M.O. Köhler, G. Rädel, K.P. Shine, H.L. Rogers, J.A. Pyle

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We evaluate the response to regional and latitudinal changes in aircraft NOx emissions using several climate metrics (radiative forcing (RF), Global Warming Potential (GWP), Global Temperature change Potential (GTP)). Global chemistry transport model integrations were performed with sustained perturbations in regional aircraft and aircraft-like NOx emissions. The RF due to the resulting ozone and methane changes is then calculated. We investigate the impact of emission changes for specific geographical regions (approximating to USA, Europe, India and China) and cruise altitude emission changes in discrete latitude bands covering both hemispheres. We find that lower latitude emission changes (per Tg N) cause ozone and methane RFs that are about a factor of 6 larger than those from higher latitude emission changes. The net RF is positive for all experiments. The meridional extent of the RF is larger for low latitude emissions. GWPs for all emission changes are positive, with tropical emissions having the largest values; the sign of the GTP depends on the choice of time horizon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Early online date25 Sep 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • Aircraft emissions
  • Nitrogen oxides
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Radiative forcing
  • Climate metrics

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