Project

Assessing Future Chinese Air Pollution Impacts on Mortality in China and the US

Support from the NASA Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team, National Key Research and Development Program of China, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Columbia Global Policy Initiative
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Support from the NASA Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team, National Key Research and Development Program of China, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Columbia Global Policy Initiative

Led by Professors Arlene Fiore and Patrick Kinney, Assessing Future Chinese Air Pollution Impacts on Mortality in China and the US joined the Columbia Global Policy Initiative in 2016 as the recipient of a Faculty Grant. 

China’s enormous air pollution-related health burden and world-leading greenhouse gas emissions places it squarely at the center of global efforts to solve these twin problems. Climate change and air pollution are closely linked, and China’s efforts to address them will have important implications for public health, both domestically and internationally. 

This project is developing and applying a modeling framework that maps future air pollution emission control pathways for China to air pollution-related health impacts, in both China and the US. The project starts with models for future climate and air pollution at the global scale driven by alternative GHG and air pollution emission scenarios, and then conducts sensitivity simulations using locally-developed emission pathways over China. The project’s scientific collaborators in China will downscale the resulting PM2.5 and ozone concentrations regionally over China using a fine-scale regional air quality model (Community Multiscale Air Quality; CMAQ) driven by meteorological fields that have also been downscaled from the global climate model meteorology. They also will examine air pollution in the US resulting from emission changes in China. The project team includes researchers in public health and atmospheric sciences at Columbia, as well as relevant partners at Tsinghua University, the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, and the China Centers for Disease Control. 

The first year of the project has been devoted to setting up and running the global model simulations to estimate changes in global climate and air quality, building and testing the dynamic linkages between the global and regional scale models, and carrying out initial health impact calculations using existing data sources in China.  In work being led by Dr. Shuxiao Wang at Tsinghua University, the next phase will finalize two China-specific future air pollution emission scenarios in the 2030-time frame—one representing “business as usual” and the other “aggressive air pollution controls.” The regional scale CMAQ model will be applied to determine the impacts of these emissions on future PM2.5 and ozone concentrations over China and the US, and their associated health impacts.

Policy Goals

  • To provide tools that account for future climate change and air pollution scenarios at global and regional scales for use in air quality policy development in China.

  • To strengthen an ongoing partnership between Columbia University and key Chinese air quality planners in both academia and the government. 

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Co-Director, Assessing Future Chinese Air Pollution Impacts on Mortality in China and the US
Co-Director, Assessing Future Chinese Air Pollution Impacts on Mortality in China and the US