Satellite-based PM2.5 Exposure Estimation and Health Impacts over China
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Exposure to suspended fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has been proven to adversely impact public health through increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory mortality. Assessing health impacts of PM2.5 and its long-term variations requires accurate estimates of large-scale exposure data. Such data include mass concentration and particle size, the latter of which may be an effect modifier on PM2.5 attributable health risks. The availability of these exposure data, however, is limited by sparse ground-level monitoring networks. In this dissertation, an optical-mass relationship was first developed based on aerosol microphysical characteristics for ground-level PM2.5 retrieval. This method quantifies PM2.5 mass concentrations with a theoretical basis, which can simultaneously estimate large-scale particle size. The results demonstrate the effectiveness and applicability of the proposed method and reveal the spatiotemporal distribution of PM2.5 over China. To explore the spatial variability and population exposure, particle radii of PM2.5 are then derived using the developed theoretical relationship along with a statistical model for a better performance. The findings reveal the prevalence of exposure to small particles (i.e. PM1), identify the need for in-situ measurements of particle size, and motivate further research to investigate the effects of particle size on health outcomes. Finally, the long-term impacts of PM2.5 on health and environmental inequality are assessed by using the satellite-retrieved PM2.5 estimates over China during 2005-2017. Premature mortality attributable to PM2.5 exposure increased by 31% from 2005 to 2017. For some causes of death, the burden fell disproportionately on provinces with low-to-middle GDP per capita. As a whole, this work contributes to bridging satellite remote sensing and long-term exposure studies and sheds light on an ongoing need to understand the effects of PM2.5, including both concentrations and other particle characteristics, on human health.
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Ming Liu (2020). Satellite-based PM2.5 Exposure Estimation and Health Impacts over China. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/16170