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Research Scholar

Biogeochemistry, Atmospheric Chemistry, and Ecosystems Division

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phone (609) 452-6500

Focus Areas:

  • Air quality – climate interactions
  • Land-biosphere feedbacks on air quality
  • Wildfires and PM pollution
  • Global-to-urban air pollution
  • Long-range pollution transport

Meiyun Lin

Meiyun Lin is a Research Scholar (with tenure) at NOAA GFDL and Princeton University’s Cooperative Institute for Modeling the Earth System. Lin’s research seeks to advance knowledge on the interactions of air quality with weather and climate to inform public policy. Specifically, her current research focuses on the air quality-climate linkages via land-biosphere feedbacks, such as from reductions in pollution removal by drought-stressed vegetation and from increases in biogenic and wildfire emissions. She also examines how climate variability and change modulates intercontinental pollution transport, intrusions of stratospheric ozone deep into the troposphere, and their impacts on surface air quality. Lin earned her Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo (2008) and completed her postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2008-2010).

Recent Publication Highlights

Vegetation feedbacks during drought exacerbate ozone air pollution extremes in Europe.

Article by Meiyun Lin et al. in Nature Climate Change (2020)

This study highlights an under-appreciated “climate penalty” feedback mechanism – namely, substantial reductions of ozone uptake by water-stressed vegetation – as a missing piece to the puzzle of why European ozone pollution episodes have not decreased in recent decades, despite marked reductions in regional emissions of ozone precursors due to regulatory changes. Figure on the left shows that accounting for vegetation feedbacks leads to a three-fold increase in high-ozone events – above 80 parts per billion. That is significantly worse than the European Union’s ozone target: 60 parts per billion, not to be exceeded on more than 25 days per year.

Publicity: Princeton News | News and Views on Nature

Sensitivity of ozone deposition to ecosystem-atmosphere interactions.

Article by Meiyun Lin et al. in Global Biogeochemical Cycles. (2019)

Key Findings:

  • Observational analysis reveals drought stress causing 50% reduction of ozone deposition velocities.
  • Ecosystem-atmosphere interactions modulate ozone deposition, with significant implications for surface ozone variability and extreme events.
  • Dynamic vegetation land models with an interactive dry deposition scheme yield mechanistic insights.

PDF Full Text | Supporting Info

US surface ozone trends and extremes from 1980 to 2014: Quantifying the roles of rising Asian emissions, domestic controls, wildfires, and climate.

Article by Meiyun Lin et al. in Atmos. Chem. Phys. (2017)

Key Findings:

  • The tripling of Asian anthropogenic NOx emissions since 1990 outpaces the benefits of 50% reductions in US domestic emissions, thereby raising surface ozone in western US rural areas during spring.
  • In the eastern US, the ozone decreases driven by regional NOx controls were more pronounced in the Southeast, where the seasonal onset of isoprene emissions from vegetation and NOx-sensitive ozone production occurs earlier than in the Northeast.
  • More frequent hot extremes and rising isoprene emissions from vegetation since 1990 would have worsened the peak ozone events in the eastern US during summer, if regional NOx emissions did not decline.

PDF Full Text | Supporting Info

Publicity: Princeton News | NOAA Research | GFDL Research Highlight

Is springtime ozone in the free troposphere over western North America in fact increasing over 1995-2008?

Article by Meiyun Lin et al. in Geophy. Res. Lett. (2015)

Revisiting the analysis of Cooper et al. [Nature, 2010], we show that sampling biases can substantially influence calculated trends of ozone in the free troposphere over western North America. The model co-sampled in space and time with observations reproduces the observed ozone trend (0.65±0.32 ppb year-1) over 1995-2008 (in simulations either with or without time-varying emissions), whereas the ‘true average’ with continuous temporal and spatial sampling indicates an insignificant trend (0.25±0.32 ppb year-1). While rising Asian emissions in the past decades raise ozone background over North America, attribution of observed trends requires consideration of internal climate variability, particularly for short record length.

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Climate variability modulates western US ozone air quality via deep stratospheric intrusions

Article by Meiyun Lin et al. in Nature Communications (2015). NOAA News Release

Exposure to ozone is harmful to human and plant health. There is mounting evidence that intrusions of stratospheric ozone deep into the troposphere can elevate western US surface ozone to unhealthy levels during late spring. This study reveals a connection between these intrusion events in US West and La Niña, an ocean-atmosphere phenomena that affects global weather patterns. Recognizing this link offers an opportunity to forecast ozone several months in advance, which would help western US air quality managers prepare to track these events for public health alert. Identifying these events also have implications for attaining the US national ozone standard.

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Publicity: Princeton Journal Watch | AAAS EurekAlert! | GFDL Research Highlight

Tropospheric ozone: Decadal dynamics

Article by Meiyun Lin et al. in Nature Geoscience (2014). Nature Geoscience News & Views

Tropospheric ozone is a greenhouse gas, biological irritant, and significant source of highly reactive hydroxyl radicals. The response of tropospheric ozone to changing atmospheric circulation is poorly understood. This paper shows that over the past four decades, shifts in atmospheric circulation have played a key role in the autumnal ozone increase and the absence of spring ozone change over Hawaii by modulating pollution transport from Asia. This finding implies a need to consider decade-long variability in climate when detecting and attributing trends in tropospheric ozone levels to changes in human-induced emissions.

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Publicity: Princeton Journal Watch | ScienceDaily | other media outlets

Springtime high-ozone events in Western U.S. surface air: Role of stratospheric intrusions.

Article by Meiyun Lin et al. in J. Geophys. Res.

Current guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dictate that surface-level air should have no more than 70 ppbv of ozone for 8-hour average. This study found that intrusions of ozone from the stratosphere can episodically increase surface ozone levels by 20-40 ppbv, pushing observed ozone to exceed the EPA limit at western U.S. high-altitude regions during spring. This finding suggests that stratospheric influence may pose challenges for western states to achieve more stringent ozone air quality standards if such “exceptional events” beyond the control of domestic air agencies are not properly screened out.

PDF Full Text | Supplemental Information | Visualization

Publicity: JGR most popular articles | US House Environmental Hearing

Western U.S. Air Quality: Imported ozone pollution

Article by Meiyun Lin et al. in J. Geophys. Res.

As Asian countries develop, they are emitting more ozone precursors that pollute surface-level air. This study finds that Asian pollution can contribute as much as 20% of total ozone during springtime pollution episodes observed in western U.S. surface air. NASA satellite observations of carbon monoxide can be used to predict when incoming plumes of polluted air might affect western air quality, one to three days ahead of time. (Read more)

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Publicity: Science Magazine |Nature News |AGU Editors’ Highlight

JGR’s top 1 most cited article in year 2012