Land Use Change Impacts on Air Quality and Climate

Friday, 19 December 2014: 11:35 AM
Colette L Heald, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cambridge, MA, United States and Dominick V Spracklen, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
Both natural and anthropogenic land use change can dramatically alter the biosphere, thus impacting sources and sinks of gases and particles to the atmosphere. Land use change is a critical element of global change that will both drive and respond to climate change. Here we focus on the impact of land use change on short-lived pollutants (ozone and aerosols). We synthesize previous studies to estimate that historical land use change has likely led to a global mean aerosol cooling equivalent to 15-35% of the radiative forcing driven by anthropogenic emissions. This cooling is likely to continue through the 21st century, but is subject to large uncertainties associated with future agricultural practices and fire activity.