The Impact of Global Climate Change on Urban Air Pollution and Human Health

EPA Grant Number: U915333
Title: The Impact of Global Climate Change on Urban Air Pollution and Human Health
Investigators: Bell, Michelle L.
Institution: The Johns Hopkins University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: September 1, 1998 through September 1, 2001
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Environmental Engineering , Engineering and Environmental Chemistry , Academic Fellowships


The objective of this research project is to investigate the possible climate change-driven effects of selected criteria air pollutants (particulate matter, ozone) on human health, with a special emphasis on urban air quality. This research connects global climate change to ambient air pollution concentrations that then are linked to epidemiological endpoints. Results will indicate how ambient air pollutant concentrations respond to different climatic conditions and emission scenarios, and how human health could be affected by changes in air pollution induced by global warming and emissions.


This research examines the potential relationships between climate change, selected urban air pollutants, and associated human health effects by integrating remote-sensed data, mesoscale modeling, epidemiological data, and data analysis tools with downscaled climate change scenarios. This will include the development of methodologies to link air pollution modeling and human health effects, which will have applications beyond climate change. The Baltimore, Maryland, metropolitan area will be used for a case study. Several downscaled climate-change scenarios, representing a variety of climatic conditions, will be used as input along with corresponding emissions fields and meteorological data to the Models-3/Community Multi-Scale Air Quality modeling system, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Exposure Research Laboratory. This state-of-the-art model allows analysis of tropospheric ozone, particulate matter, and other pollutants on a urban or regional scale, and will be used to evaluate the impact of different climatic and emission scenarios on ambient air concentration fields (e.g., pollutant concentration’s distribution, altered maxima and minima, length of high O3 days, frequency of National Ambient Air Quality Standards violations, etc.). These air pollutant concentrations will be linked with results from selected epidemiological studies that estimate the effect of changes in air pollutant concentration with human health endpoints. Various subgroup populations will have different vulnerability to these health impacts; therefore, separate analysis will be performed for particularly susceptible subgroups (e.g., the elderly, those with preexisting respiratory conditions). Research also will include uncertainty and sensitivity analysis.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, air pollutants, epidemiological endpoint, emissions, climate change, tropospheric ozone, particulate matter, global warming., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, Geographic Area, air toxics, Health Risk Assessment, climate change, State, Air Pollution Effects, Disease & Cumulative Effects, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, Atmosphere, East Coast, ambient air quality, health effects, mesoscale models, precipitation, environmental monitoring, air pollutants, epidemiology, exposure and effects, air quality models, ambient air, exposure, emissions, modeling, precipitation patterns, air pollution, Maryland (MD), human exposure, Baltimore, MD, urban air pollution, human health, urban air , transport, ambient air pollution, climate variability

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1999
  • 2000
  • Final