alexa Estimation of future PM2.5- and ozone-related mortality over the continental United States in a changing climate: An application of high-resolution dynamical downscaling technique.
Environmental Sciences

Environmental Sciences

Hydrology: Current Research

Author(s): Sun J, Fu JS, Huang K, Gao Y

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Abstract This paper evaluates the PM2.5- and ozone-related mortality at present (2000s) and in the future (2050s) over the continental United States by using the Environmental Benefits Mapping and Analysis Program (BenMAP-CE). Atmospheric chemical fields are simulated by WRF/CMAQ (horizontal resolution: 12×12 km), applying the dynamical downscaling technique from global climate-chemistry model under the Representative Concentration Pathways scenario (RCP 8.5). Future air quality results predict that the annual mean PM2.5 concentration in continental U.S. decreases nationwide, especially in the Eastern U.S. and west coast. However, the ozone concentration is projected to decrease in the Eastern U.S. but increase in the Western U.S. Future mortality is evaluated under two scenarios (1) holding future population and baseline incidence rate at the present level and (2) using the projected baseline incidence rate and population in 2050. For PM2.5, the entire continental U.S. presents a decreasing trend of PM2.5-related mortality by the 2050s in Scenario (1), primarily resulting from the emissions reduction. While in Scenario (2), almost half of the continental states show a rising tendency of PM2.5-related mortality, due to the dominant influence of population growth. In particular, the highest PM2.5-related deaths and the biggest discrepancy between present and future PM2.5-related deaths both occur in California in 2050s. For the ozone-related premature mortality, the simulation shows nation-wide rising tendency in 2050s under both scenarios, mainly due to the increase of ozone concentration and population in the future. Furthermore, the uncertainty analysis shows that the confidence interval of all causes mortality is much larger than that for specific causes, probably due to the accumulated uncertainty of generating datasets and sample size. The confidence interval of ozone-related all cause premature mortality is narrower than the PM2.5-related all cause mortality, due to its smaller standard deviation of the concentration-mortality response factor. IMPLICATIONS: The health impact of PM2.5 is more linearly proportional to the emission reductions than ozone. The reduction of anthropogenic PM2.5 precursor emissions is likely to lead to the decrease of PM2.5 concentrations and PM2.5 related mortality. However, the future ozone concentrations could increase due to increase of the greenhouse gas emissions of methane. Thus, to reduce the impact of ozone related mortality, anthropogenic emissions including criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas (i.e. methane) need to be controlled. This article was published in J Air Waste Manag Assoc and referenced in Hydrology: Current Research

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