Regional climate feedbacks in Central Chile and their effect on air quality episodes and meteorology

Marcelo Mena-Carrasco, Pablo Saide, Rodrigo Delgado, Pablo Hernandez, Scott Spak, Luisa Molina, Gregory Carmichael, Xiaoyan Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Santiago, an emerging megacity of 7 million plus inhabitants has shown great improvement in its air quality reducing PM2.5 concentrations from 69μg/m3 in 1989 to 24μg/m3 in 2013 with a comprehensive air quality management strategy. An operational air quality forecasting model that has shown great potential in predicting air quality episodes is used to establish how the climate A1B scenario can impact the frequency of bad air days. In comparison to 2011, in 2050 extreme air quality episodes will be reduced in 20%. WRF-Chem is used to evaluate the effect of anthropogenic emissions on the regional climate including aerosol radiative feedbacks for October-November 2008. Anthropogenic emissions of sulfur and black carbon show different geographical patterns which result in local cooling (0.2-1°C) in coastal Chile, due to large sources of SO2. Central Chile, where most of the population of the country lives, shows transportation of black carbon emissions into the Andes mountain range, resulting in local warming of 0.4°C. While global forcings may cause regional heating for 2050, reducing current black carbon emissions in Central Chile can reduce anthropogenic warming with immediate benefits to the regional climate, and simultaneously reducing local air pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-781
Number of pages11
JournalUrban Climate
Issue numberP5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Aerosol
  • Andes
  • Black carbon
  • Regional climate
  • Santiago

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies
  • Atmospheric Science


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