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calculatinG heaLth impActs of atmospheric pollutioN in a Changing climatE

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GLANCE (calculatinG heaLth impActs of atmospheric pollutioN in a Changing climatE)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2017-06-30

Current annual global estimates of premature deaths from poor air quality are estimated in the range of 2.6-4.4 million, and 2050 projections are expected to double against 2010 levels. In Europe, annual economic burdens are estimated at around 750 bn €. Climate change will further exacerbate air pollution burdens; therefore, a better understanding of the economic impacts on human societies has become an area of intense investigation. European research efforts have been been carried out within the MACC project series, which ran from 2005 - 2015. The outcome of this work has been integrated into a European capacity for Earth Observation, the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS). In MACC/CAMS, key pollutant concentrations are computed at the European scale and globally by employing chemically-driven advanced transport models. In GLANCE, a system model is developed for calculating the health impacts and damage costs of air pollution at different physical scales. It combines MACC/CAMS (assimilated Earth Observations, an ensemble of chemical transport models and state of the art ECWMF weather forecasting) with downscaling based on in-situ network measurements. This project develops a software toolkit in Python, based on open source libraries, to yield health and economic burden assessments. Its modular design does not restrict it to the modelled concentration fields that MACC/CAMS provides, but allows the application and integration of other data.
This project is a multidisciplinary approach which brings together leading experts from natural sciences and socioeconomic fields. GLANCE benefits the European community by contributing a novel approach to assess impacts of air quality at the local and regional levels, thus benefiting to long running EU commitments, while exploring new pathways for exploiting earth observational data.
A modular system module was developed following the Impact Pathway Approach in the open source progamming language Python. Each individual step in the chain (air pollution concentration, health impact assessment and economic valuation) are implemented as individual modules, which can also be used stand-alone libraries. This ensures a high level of flexibility and the applicability of the algorithms to air pollution assessments other than MACC/CAMS. Furthermore, it can be transferred to studies addressing only individual steps of the Impact Pathway Approach, e.g. only from contaminant concentration to health impacts or health impacts to economic valuation. All necessary databases on the European scale are incorporated for the years of interest for this project, minimizing the need for time-consuming recompilation of auxiliary data.

Results and presentations have been presented on the state of the project at various conferences and to a broader audience, including poster and oral presentation as well as invited talks.
The project’s impact is based on three approaches, which are a) a gain in scientific knowledge, b) the development of a free and open source toolkit which can be exploited by the scientific community beyond the duration of the project and c) personal impact on the researcher with this multi-disciplinary project, allowing him to gain valuable insights and widening his horizon to include health impacts of pollutants, economic valuation as well as a deepening of expertise in data anlysis, open source tools, GIS and scientific programming.
In terms of gains of knowledge and developing of scientific toolkits, the novel aspects of the research to be carried out in the framework of GLANCE are to provide impact assessments driven by earth observation data rather than models relying only on inventories and/or dispersion calculations from point measurements; Timeliness, as the projects started at the same time as MACC project series transitioned to operational products in the frame of CAMS; yields impact assessments on a European scale where it meets·specific needs and problems at European and international level. And last but not least it provides important information to the general audience, and can be applied directly by the scientific community as well as policy and decision makers.
Estimated concentration of particulate matter (PM2.5) at 8:00h on August 21st 2014