2016 Progress Report: Climate Change, Indoor Ozone and Vascular Function

EPA Grant Number: R835759
Title: Climate Change, Indoor Ozone and Vascular Function
Investigators: Kipen, Howard , Barr, Dana Boyd , Georgopoulos, Panos G. , Lioy, Paul J. , Meng, Qingyu , Ohman-Strickland, Pamela , Ryan, P. Barry , Weschler, Charles J.
Institution: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: May 1, 2015 through April 30, 2018
Project Period Covered by this Report: May 1, 2016 through April 30,2017
Project Amount: $999,975
RFA: Indoor Air and Climate Change (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Climate Change , Air


  1. Examine how changes in ambient O3 as a consequence of climate change in urban areas may affect indoor air quality through both a direct effect on indoor O3 concentration and an indirect effect on indoor chemistry.
  2. Examine whether indoor exposures to air pollutants and cardiorespiratory responses can be modified by the use of a portable air cleaner.
  3. Model climate change impacts on ambient O3 pollution, indoor exposures to O3 , O3 /alkene reaction products, and cardiovascular health outcomes in the elderly.

Progress Summary:

A. Objectives 1 and 2:

Based on the timeline in the proposal the project was slated to begin in September 2014. Unfortunately, our funding did not actually begin until May 15, 2015. Approval was obtained from both the Rutgers and the Emory IRBs, and additional staff were trained on the EndoPAT by company representatives.

Monthly and ad hoc conference calls were conducted between investigators at Emory and Rutgers to resolve questions that arise in the field. Dr. Kipen reviews medical data from all candidate subjects at both sites before they are enrolled.

Participation in the study is restricted by strict eligibility criteria. The two most restrictive criteria are the use of a room air conditioner (not central air conditioning) and no diabetes. Smokers and those currently employed (spending more than 5 hours/day outside the home) are also excluded. Despite these challenges, we increased the recruitment goal to 20 subjects per site.

In New Jersey we have thus employed intensive “retail” recruiting using flyers and targeting senior citizen groups, area supermarkets, and churches in a two county area. As of July 21, 2017 Rutgers has 20 subjects enrolled with 12 complete, 1 ongoing, and 7 scheduled. Emory, succeeding with a more building-targeted approach, has completed 8 subjects with an additional 10 subjects scheduled. As the overall study, based on the primary microvascular function endpoint, is powered for 15 subjects at each site we have every confidence that we will intentionally exceed this number and assure a valid test of the biological hypotheses.

The final sampling configuration consists of a portable table to be used as a platform for the CO2/temperature, black carbon monitor, and ultrafine particle monitors and a pelican case containing the ozone monitor and air sampling pump (see Figure 1). The configuration minimizes the space needed, allows the use of a power strip for the instruments, and dampens the instrument noise, making it more acceptable to study participants. The configuration of the sampling array is adjusted at both sites for each dwelling.

Figure 1: Table with CPC and CO2 monitor (top; black carbon monitor not shown) and case with ozone monitor, air sampling pump, and SidePak (bottom).

B. Objective 3:
Computational modeling efforts during the current reporting period were pursued according to the stated objectives of Modeling Tasks 1, 2 and 3 of the Project Work Plan.

More specifically:

  • Modeling Task 1 involves the refinement and evaluation of indoor air quality modules to incorporate current information on relevant indoor ozone chemical reactions.

Work on Modeling Task 1 continued development, testing and refinement of indoor air quality (IAQ) modules that refine the state-of-the-art in indoor ozone photochemistry. This ongoing process of module development and evaluation takes into account and incorporates findings from recent field and laboratory studies of relevant indoor ozone chemical reactions, while aiming to balance the level of detail in mechanistic physicochemical description incorporated in the modeling algorithms with the need for computational efficiency. As an example, secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation through reaction of ozone with squalene in the indoor environment was implemented and coded in Matlab; model simulations were evaluated with data available in the literature. On-going work considers alternative zonal flow configurations for representative residential settings in conjunction with modified indoor chemistry while sensitivity analyses are being conducted to characterize the impact of system parameters on airborne concentrations of gaseous and aerosol species. These IAQ modules will be further evaluated and calibrated utilizing the new information collected through the present project. The original anticipated timeline of Modeling Task 1 is being adjusted to properly match availability of the information that is being collected.

  • Modeling Task 2 involves the incorporation of the indoor air quality (IAQ) modules developed in Task 1 into the Modeling Environment for Total Risk in One Atmosphere (MENTOR-1A) system.

Currently on-going work on Modeling Task 2 focuses on coupling the IAQ modules developed under Task 1 with the neighborhood scale air quality characterization components of MENTOR. These components “downscale” outputs of a customized version of the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model at census tract resolution using a Spatio-Temporal Random Field (STRF) approach.

  • Modeling Task 3 has been adapted from the original work plan to focus on the analysis of photochemical air quality modeling results of base (2017) and future (2047) simulations of the study periods (May to September), employing the Community Multiscale Air Quality model (CMAQ) on a regional 3-dimensional grid with downscaling over the two selected study areas of New Brunswick, NJ and Atlanta, GA.

On-going work is employing a multi-model system that includes, in addition to CMAQ, the Modeling Environment for Total Risk studies in a “One-Atmosphere” framework (MENTOR-1A), the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, the Sparse Operator Kernel Emissions (SMOKE) model, the Meteorology Chemistry Interface Processor (MCIP), and other computational tools designed to support studies of climate change effects on air quality and human exposures.

During the present project reporting period, efforts within Modeling Task 3 have continued to involve extracting and organizing relevant outcomes of global and continental base and future simulations and on analysis of CMAQ model inputs and outputs for base and future air quality simulations focusing on the Eastern US. Analyses performed during the current reporting period included (a) assessment and evaluation of CMAQ-derived hourly ozone estimates versus monitor data for the two selected study areas of New Brunswick, NJ and Atlanta, GA during the May to September 2016 period, and (b) comparative analyses of CMAQ-derived hourly ozone predictions for May, June and July of 2017 (base year) and 2047 (future year) of New Brunswick, NJ and Atlanta, GA; these analyses will be extended to the months of August and September (2017 and 2047) in the next months.

Future Activities:

As described above.

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
2015 Progress Report