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Short-Lived Climate Forcers and the Arctic

Challenge

Short-lived climate forcers (SLCF), such as black carbon (BC), are a subset of gases and aerosols that alter the Earth’s energy balance. SLCFs currently contribute around 40% of the current climate warming influence from anthropogenic sources. These impacts are of particular interest in the Arctic since polar amplification and other factors are creating an increased rate of temperature increase in the Arctic, as compared to the global average. The challenge of this project was to improve and communicate the understanding of BC and other SLCF emissions reductions on the Arctic. .


Solution

Battelle, in a joint effort with EPA, developed a methodological approach to determine the Arctic climate impacts of BC and other SLCF emissions from various regions and source sectors. Specifically, the project utilized wood-fueled residential heating appliance emissions inventory data from various European countries, determined these emissions impacts on the Arctic climate, and developed mitigation strategies to curb future emissions and temperature increases. The research found that SLCF emissions from wood-fueled appliance emissions in 14 European countries combined to increase Arctic surface temperatures by +2.8 millikelvin in 2016. Considering the best mitigation option, the study estimated that the SLCF emissions and Arctic temperature impacts could be reduced by 94% and 85%, respectively.

For this project, Battelle and EPA also developed a series of communication and outreach products to translate and disseminate the results of a study of climate and health impacts of residential heating inventory assessments in Serbia to both technical and non-technical audiences. Working with an in-country partner, the team planned and implemented an international stakeholder webinar, hosted for researchers and NGOs in Serbia. To supplement the webinar, a collection of outreach tools, including a summary slide presentation, a public outreach pamphlet, and a technical summary booklet for the research community were developed.

Impact

To communicate our work, Battelle led in publishing these findings to the peer-reviewed literature (https://doi.org/10.1029/2020EF001493). Additionally, outreach materials for broader distribution were also created for both technical and non-technical audiences, and a webinar was conducted to present and translate research findings for Serbian stakeholders with the aim of informing in-country efforts to reduce climate and health impacts from residential heating stoves. The approach outlined in this study can easily be implemented with a multitude of other sectors across any region in the world, greatly increasing its impact on understanding SLCF’s impact on the Arctic region.

Photo: Article published by Battelle and EPA about Artic Temperature Impacts on European Residential Heating Appliances and Mitigation Strategies
Battelle and EPA published their research in American Geophysical Union’s Earth’s Future journal.

Photo: Outreach documents and webinars about the Battelle and EPA Serbia Residential Heating Inventory Assessment
Screen capture of the ESRI StoryMap developed by Battelle to address known barriers in access to actionable information.

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