Aim & Objectives

The study’s aim is to examine the interaction of pollutant mixtures and weather on health and health inequalities, now and in the context of future air quality and climate policies, through epidemiological studies based on the development, testing and application of multi-pollutant data that are disaggregated in time and space.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To produce UK distributions of surface air pollutants (ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, size- and species-resolved particulate matter), for the period 2000-2010 (and under future emission and climate scenarios), at hourly resolution on a 5 x 5 km grid or smaller, with the well-tested WRF (Weather Research and Forecast) and EMEP4UK chemistry transport models.
  2. To extend data available on the performance of the WRF and EMEP4UK models for epidemiological studies by comparison of model results with data from fixed site monitoring stations and from new denser measurements concentrated around selected monitors.
  3. To combine these outdoor exposures data (pollutant mixes, temperatures) with validated open-source models of the indoor environment (Energy Plus, CONTAMW) to allow integrated spatial modelling of environmental exposure and the indoor environment.
  4. To link selected national postcoded/geo-referenced health data sets (mortality, hospital admissions, Myocardial Infarction National Audit Project) with these spatially resolved daily data in (1) to (3) to examine epidemiological questions relating to: (i) the health effects of short-term exposure to pollutant mixes and the risks carried by particle species; (ii) evidence for the role of housing in moderating exposure to outdoor pollutants/temperature; (iii) geographical variations in pollutant-weather impacts, with particular focus on urban-rural differentials and urban heat islands; (iv) socio-economic variations in exposure-response relationships; (v) evidence for thresholds in the concentration-response relationships; and (vi) the optimal adjustment for weather variables in quantifying pollutant-response relationships.
  5. To examine the impact of selected air quality and climate policies on changes in the distributions of (multi-)pollutant concentrations and related health burdens, including exceedance patterns, and their relationship to weather extremes
  6. To use the spatio-temporally resolved data to quantify socio-economic differentials in the mortality/morbidity burdens of exposure to air pollution and weather extremes, and the effect of control policies in (5) on such differentials over time.
  7. To develop a decision-analysis framework, integrating the results of (4) to (6), for evaluating the health costs and benefits, and effects on socio-economic inequalities, of selected air quality and climate policies.