Location-Specific Control of Precursor Emissions to Mitigate Photochemical Air Pollution
The effects of precursor emission controls on air quality can vary greatly depending on where emission reductions occur. We use the adjoint of the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model to evaluate impacts of spatially targeted NOx emission reductions on odd oxygen (Ox = O3 + NO2). The air quality responses studied here include one population-weighted regionwide and three city-level receptors in Central California. We map high-priority locations for NOx control and their changes over decadal time scales. The desirability of NOx-focused emission control programs has increased between 2000 and 2022. We find for present-day conditions that reducing NOx emissions by 28% from targeted high-priority locations can achieve 60% of the air quality benefits of uniform NOx reductions at all locations. High-priority source locations are found to differ for individual city-level versus regionwide receptors of interest. While high-impact emission hotspots for improving city-level metrics are found within the city itself or closely adjacent, the spatial pattern of emission hotspots for improving regionwide air quality is more complex and requires comprehensive consideration of upwind sources. Results of this study can help to inform strategic decision-making at local and regional levels about where to prioritize emission control efforts.