Regional Air Pollution Mixtures: The past and future impacts of emissions controls and climate change on air quality and health

EPA Grant Number: R835872
Center: Regional Air Pollution Mixtures
Center Director: Koutrakis, Petros
Title: Regional Air Pollution Mixtures: The past and future impacts of emissions controls and climate change on air quality and health
Investigators: Koutrakis, Petros , Coull, Brent , Dominici, Francesca , Schwartz, Joel , Selin, Noelle Eckley
Institution: Harvard University , Massachusetts Institute of Technology
EPA Project Officer: Ilacqua, Vito
Project Period: May 1, 2016 through April 30, 2021
Project Amount: $10,000,000
RFA: Air, Climate And Energy (ACE) Centers: Science Supporting Solutions (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air , Health , Climate Change , Integrated Assessment of the Consequences of Climate Change , Air Quality and Air Toxics , Social Science , Airborne Particulate Matter Health Effects , Air Toxics , Health Effects

Objective:

The overarching goal of this Center is to generate new scientific knowledge on past and future US in air quality and the associated health impacts. Specifically, we will investigate the sources, composition, trends and effects of regional air pollutant mixtures across the US over a relatively long chronological period spanning past and future years (2000-2040), and will examine the influence of climate, socioeconomic factors, policy decisions, and control strategies on air pollution, human health and economic outcomes.

Approach:

Project 1: We will investigate pollutant mixtures across the US using historic (2000-2015) and projected (2016-2040) data and compile data from networks, satellites, and the GEOS-Chem model. Using cluster analysis, we will group regions and subsequently, we will examine the impacts of modifiable factors, and changes in emissions and climate on mixtures by region. Finally, we will project the potential impact of climate change on regional air pollution.

Project 2: We will investigate pollutant mixtures in Massachusetts. We will use spatiotemporal models for PM2.5 mass and species to identify modifiable factors related to: transportation, energy, urbanization etc., and evaluate several community control programs. Finally, we will use a novel multi-resolution analysis to decompose PM2.5 into regional, subregional, and locally-generated components and assess their health effects.

Project 3: We will use unique datasets and novel (for air pollution studies) causal inference methods to examine the causal impact on mortality of acute and chronic changes in pollution and pollution trends by region, by mixture, and by modifiable factors. We will identify the causal effects of temperature changes on these impacts, and determine whether they persist at levels below the NAAQS.

Project 4: We will analyze data on emissions control technologies for 4,164 US power plants units for the 1995-2012, and investigate the causal impacts of specific control strategies on emissions and population exposure and health. Finally, we will compare the effectiveness of past and future regulatory strategies impacting power plants.

Project 5: We will project and quantify future changes in socioeconomic drivers of air pollution and its health-related impact. We will develop methods for assessing the relative importance of global change, technologies, and policies to air quality, relative to other uncertainties. We will quantify the future implications of modifiable factors such as technologies and efficiency improvements in the energy and transportation sectors on regional air pollution impacts. Finally, we will characterize state- and regional-level carbon policy implementation measures with respect to their health co-benefits.

Expected Results:

Our Center will address all four research questions of the EPA solicitation to establish ACE Centers. It will: 1) investigate past and projected regional and sub-regional air pollutant mixtures and examine their characteristics and health effects and their relationship to emissions, climate, and modifiable factors; 2) project the potential impact of climate change on regional mixtures; 3) assess the effectiveness of past and future regulatory strategies, and; 4) project and quantify future changes in socioeconomic drivers of air pollution and its healthrelated impact and characterize carbon policy measures with respect to their air co-benefits.

Supplemental Keywords:

risk analysis, casual inference, socioeconomic changes, emission control policies, emission inventories;

Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
R835872C001 Project 1: Regional Air Pollution Mixtures: The Past and Future Impacts of Emission Controls and Climate Change on Air Quality and Health
R835872C002 Project 2: Air Pollutant Mixtures in Eastern Massachusetts: Spatial Multi-resolution Analysis of Trends, Effects of Modifiable Factors, Climate and Particle-induced Mortality
R835872C003 Project 3: Causal Estimates of Effects of Regional and National Pollution Mixtures on Health: Providing Tools for Policy Makers
R835872C004 A Causal Inference Framework to Support Policy Decisions by Evaluating the Effectiveness of Past Air Pollution Control Strategies for the Entire United States
R835872C005 Project 5: Projecting and Quantifying Future Changes in Socioeconomic Drivers of Air Pollution and its Health-Related Impacts