2017 Progress Report: SEARCH: Solutions to Energy, AiR, Climate, and Health

EPA Grant Number: R835871
Center: Solutions for Energy, AiR, Climate and Health Center (SEARCH)
Center Director: Bell, Michelle L.
Title: SEARCH: Solutions to Energy, AiR, Climate, and Health
Investigators: Bell, Michelle L. , Anastas, Paul T. , Breysse, Patrick N. , Curriero, Frank , Deziel, Nicole Cardello , Eckelman, Matthew J. , Ellis, J. Hugh , Esty, Daniel C. , Gentner, Drew R. , Gentry, Bradford S. , Gillingham, Kenneth , Hobbs, Benjamin F. , Katz, Howard , Kerkez, Branko , Koehler, Kirsten , Peccia, Jordan , Peng, Roger D. , Son, Jiyoung , Storelvmo, Trude , Streets, David G. , Wara, Michael W. , Weyant, John P. , Zaitchik, Benjamin , Zhang, Yang , Zhang, Yawei , Zimmerman, Julie B.
Institution: Yale University , Argonne National Laboratory , North Carolina State University , Stanford University , The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , The Johns Hopkins University , University of Michigan , Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
EPA Project Officer: Callan, Richard
Project Period: October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2020
Project Period Covered by this Report: October 1, 2016 through September 30,2017
Project Amount: $9,999,990
RFA: Air, Climate And Energy (ACE) Centers: Science Supporting Solutions (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Global Climate Change , Air Quality and Air Toxics , Airborne Particulate Matter Health Effects , Particulate Matter , Air , Climate Change

Objective:

The main objectives of the Solutions for Energy, AiR, Climate and Health (SEARCH) Center are to investigate energy-related transitions underway across the United States by combining state-of-the-science modeling of energy systems, air quality, climate and health. SEARCH aims to characterize factors contributing to emissions, air quality and health associated with key energy-related transitions to understand how these factors affect regional and local differences in air pollution and public health effects. In addition, we will identify key modifiable factors (e.g., transportation, land-use, power generation) and how those factors and their air pollution impacts are likely to change over time.

Progress Summary:

Project 1 (R835871C001) estimates how energy transitions in the United States affect emissions of air pollutants, including how modifiable factors influence regional emissions. This project uses detailed modeling of energy and emissions, including key feedbacks within the energy system and development of novel downscaling tools. Lifecycle Assessment will be used to estimate a broader set of emissions, such as those from manufacture of energy technologies.

Project 2 (R835871C002) assesses ambient levels and personal exposures of pollution corresponding to energy transitions taking place in a case study city by developing and deploying novel high-resolution monitors and considering modifiable factors, such as commuting patterns.

Project 3 (R835871C003) uses online coupled air quality modeling to estimate how energy transitions in Project 1 affect ambient concentrations. It also develops improved modeling tools to reduce uncertainty and better characterize temporal and spatial variation of pollutants and identify modifiable factors contributing to regional differences in pollution.

Project 4 (R835871C004) estimates the health consequences of energy transitions and incorporates key uncertainties and epidemiological analysis of understudied modifiable factors (e.g., urbanicity, land use). Climate change modeling (Project 3) will be used to estimate how the results of all the projects are affected by potential climate change. In addition, Project 4 estimates the climate change impact of emissions from the energy scenarios.

For project updates, please see individual project pages.

Support Unit Updates:

The Quantitative Methods Unit (QMU) for the SEARCH Center provides centralized statistical and data analytic services to all projects in the Center. The QMU brings extensive expertise in the analysis of environmental health and spatial-temporal data, and its investigators have long-standing collaborations with several members of the SEARCH research team. The objectives of the QMU are (1) Provide statistical analysis support for all four Center projects, including design consultation, analytical work and manuscript preparation; (2) Conduct statistical methodology research for application in all Center projects when existing approaches are insufficient to address the scientific questions of interest; and (3) Coordinate efforts across projects to ensure that all research findings are reproducible by making computer code and data sets available when possible.

We have completed a major study of the long-term chronic effects of coarse particulate matter on asthma prevalence and morbidity in children with Medicaid. This study was completed in conjunction with the simultaneous development of statistical methodology for examining the chronic effects of long-term exposure to air pollution. We also have made substantial progress on our methods development for the analysis of complex mixtures, which is relevant to Projects 2, 3 and 4. Our work on the weighted average fractions of likeness method (WAFL) can be used to examine the health effects of particulate matter composition

The Policy and Decision Making Facility Support Unit (Policy Unit) provides a way to bridge the gap between policymakers at the federal, state and local levels and the scientific community, as well as to ensure that the SEARCH research produces outputs that are beneficial for real-world decisions. In doing so, the Policy Unit helps to maximize the impact of the SEARCH contribution to public health and the environment. The Unit's specific objectives include (1) fostering policy-relevant science through an external Decision Making Team, (2) assisting SEARCH researchers with the development of specific energy policy scenarios for use in research projects using the Unit to connect to real-world policy and decision making, and (3) facilitating the dissemination of research findings in the policy arena and finding innovative ways to communicate with policymakers and the general public.

The Policy Unit continued to serve as a liaison between decisionmakers and the SEARCH researchers with regular meetings and other outreach with the policy community, particularly at the state level. Special emphasis was placed on working with the external Decision Making Team to ensure that the energy transition scenarios being used by the SEARCH researchers as part of Project 1 seemed relevant.

Through this collaboration with policymakers, the Policy Unit helped Project Team 1 to produce a refined set of relevant energy transitions scenarios to be considered in their data modeling. The set of energy transition scenarios to be analyzed include (1) increased distributed electricity generation and demand response, (2) high electric vehicle market penetration, (3) low long-term natural gas prices, (4) modernization of ports and marine shipping, and (5) innovations in building energy efficiency. Regular meetings were held with the investigators of Project 1 to discuss the policy implications and key assumptions of each transition scenario that will be built into their research models using the National Energy Modeling System.

Members of the Policy Unit met with a group of Northeastern state air directors at the Northeast States for Coordinated Use Air Management's annual meeting on April 27, 2017, to update them on the SEARCH project. Dan Esty delivered a summary presentation and then led an informal discussion. He also did a webinar organized by the National Association of Clean Air Agencies on August 9, 2017, that provided an opportunity to brief state and city air directors from across the country on the progress of the SEARCH research efforts. Ben Hobbs similarly briefed the Mid-Atlantic Regional Air Management Association on November 3, 2017.

Future Activities:

The QMU will continue work toward the successful completion of our specific objectives. We will be finalizing the development of the WAFL methods and will finalize our work investigating measurement error in air pollution exposure assessment in ecologic studies of health. We also will continue coordination with Project 3 in ongoing development of air pollution prediction methods for cohort studies and will work closely with Project 4 on investigating modifiable factors of air pollution health effects.

The Policy Unit will continue to work to connect the SEARCH Center to policymakers and ensure a robust flow of information and data between those who are making real-world environmental policy choices and the SEARCH project researchers. In doing so, the Policy Unit expects to advance the twin goals of producing policy-informed science and science-informed policy. The Policy Unit itself is not itself producing new scientific research, but instead is helping to sharpen the focus of the SEARCH research teams. It will continue to play an advisory role to the SEARCH Center by analyzing existing environmental policy reviews relevant to the various SEARCH projects and gathering insights from policymakers to better inform the hypotheses and experiments conducted by SEARCH researchers.

For future activities for projects, please see individual project pages.


Journal Articles: 16 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other center views: All 25 publications 16 publications in selected types All 16 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Bravo MA, Anthopolos R, Bell ML, Miranda ML. Racial isolation and exposure to airborne particulate matter and ozone in understudied US populations: environmental justice applications of downscaled numerical model output. Environment International 2016;92-93:247-255. R835871 (2016)
R835871 (2017)
R835871C004 (2016)
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  • Journal Article Bravo MA, Ebisu K, Dominici F, Wang Y, Peng RD, Bell ML. Airborne fine particles and risk of hospital admissions for understudied populations: effects by urbanicity and short-term cumulative exposures in 708 U.S. counties. Environmental Health Perspectives 2017;125(4):594-601. R835871 (2016)
    R835871 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Gentner DR, Xiong F. Tracking pollutant emissions. Nature Geoscience 2017;10(12):883-884. R835871C002 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Glotfelty T, He J, Zhang Y. Improving organic aerosol treatments in CESM/CAM5: development, application, and evaluation. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 2017;9(2):1506-1539. R835871 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Goldberg DL, Lamsal LN, Loughner CP, Swartz WH, Lu Z, Streets DG. A high-resolution and observationally constrained OMI NO2 satellite retrieval. Atmospheric Chemistry & Physics 2017;17(18):11403-11421. R835871 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Keet CA, Keller JP, Peng RD. Long-term coarse particulate matter exposure is associated with asthma among children in Medicaid. American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine 2018;197(6):737-746. R835871 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Krall JR, Hackstadt AJ, Peng RD. A hierarchical modeling approach to estimate regional acute health effects of particulate matter sources. Statistics in Medicine 2017;36(9):1461-1475. R835871 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Li H, Dailey J, Kale T, Besar K, Koehler K, Katz HE. Sensitive and selective NO2 sensing based on alkyl- and alkylthio-thiophene polymer conductance and conductance ratio changes from differential chemical doping. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2017;9(24):20501-20507. R835871 (2017)
    R835871C002 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Liu JC, Wilson A, Mickley LJ, Dominici F, Ebisu K, Wang Y, Sulprizio MP, Peng RD, Yue X, Son JY, Anderson GB, Bell ML. Wildfire-specific fine particulate matter and risk of hospital admissions in urban and rural counties. Epidemiology 2017;28(1):77-85. R835871 (2017)
    R834798 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Liu JC, Wilson A, Mickley LJ, Ebisu K, Sulprizio MP, Wang Y, Peng RD, Yue X, Dominici F, Bell ML. Who among the elderly is most vulnerable to exposure to and health risks of fine particulate matter from wildfire smoke? American Journal of Epidemiology 2017;186(6):730-735. R835871 (2017)
    R834798 (Final)
    R835875 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Shi W, Zheng Y, Taylor AD, Yu J, Katz HE. Increased mobility and on/off ratio in organic field-effect transistors using low-cost guanine-pentacene multilayers. Applied Physics Letters 2017;111(4):043301. R835871 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Shi W, Yu J, Katz HE. Sensitive and selective pentacene-guanine field-effect transistor sensing of nitrogen dioxide and interferent vapor analytes. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical 2018;254:940-948. R835871 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Son J-Y, Lane KJ, Lee J-T, Bell ML. Urban vegetation and heat-related mortality in Seoul, Korea. Environmental Research 2016;151:728-733. R835871 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Son J-Y, Lee HJ, Koutrakis P, Bell ML. Pregnancy and lifetime exposure to fine particulate matter and infant mortality in Massachusetts, 2001–2007. American Journal of Epidemiology 2017;186(11):1268-1276. R835871 (2017)
    R834798 (Final)
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  • Journal Article Son J-Y, Lee J-T, Bell ML. Is ambient temperature associated with risk of infant mortality? A multi-city study in Korea. Environmental Research 2017;158:748-752. R835871 (2017)
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  • Journal Article Yahya K, Glotfelty T, Wang K, Zhang Y, Nenes A. Modeling regional air quality and climate: improving organic aerosol and aerosol activation processes in WRF/Chem version 3.7.1. Geoscientific Model Development 2017;10(6):2333-2363. R835871 (2017)
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  • Supplemental Keywords:

    air pollution, air quality, ambient air quality, climate extremes, criteria pollutants, diagnostic analysis, emissions downscaling, energy, energy transitions, energy-economic modeling, enhanced satellite retrievals, environmental health, exposure assessment, fossil fuel, global and regional modeling, health effects, heat wave, human exposure, lifecycle assessment, LCA, mixtures, model improvement, National Energy Modeling System, NEMS, oxidative stress, ozone, O3, particulate matter, PM2.5, policy, pollution prevention, renewable, sensitivity simulation, social science, source apportionment, statistical methods, systems analysis, transport

    Relevant Websites:

    Yale SEARCH Center Exit Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2016 Progress Report
  • 2018
  • Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R835871C001 Project 1: Modeling Emissions from Energy Transitions
    R835871C002 Project 2: Assessment of Energy-Related Sources, Factors and Transitions Using Novel High-Resolution Ambient Air Monitoring Networks and Personal Monitors
    R835871C003 Project 3: Air Quality and Climate Change Modeling: Improving Projections of the Spatial and Temporal Changes of Multipollutants to Enhance Assessment of Public Health in a Changing World
    R835871C004 Project 4: Human Health Impacts of Energy Transitions: Today and Under a Changing World