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Future air pollution related health burdens associated with RCP emission changes in the UK

Fenech, S; Doherty, RM; O'Connor, FM; Heaviside, C; Macintyre, HL; Vardoulakis, S; Agnew, P; (2021) Future air pollution related health burdens associated with RCP emission changes in the UK. Science of The Total Environment , 773 , Article 145635. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145635.

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Abstract

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) are used to simulate future ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the United Kingdom (UK) for the 2050s relative to the 2000s with an air quality model (AQUM) at a 12 km horizontal resolution. The present-day and future attributable fractions (AF) of mortality associated with long-term exposure to annual mean O3, NO2 and PM2.5 have accordingly been estimated for the first time for regions across England, Scotland and Wales. Across the three RCPs (RCP2.6, RCP6.0 and RCP8.5), simulated annual mean of the daily maximum 8-hr mean (MDA8) O3 concentrations increase compared to present-day, likely due to decreases in NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions, leading to less titration of O3 by NO. Annual mean NO2 and PM2.5 concentrations decrease under all RCPs for the 2050s, mostly driven by decreases in NOx and sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions, respectively. The AF of mortality associated with long-term exposure to annual mean MDA8 O3 is estimated to increase in the future across all the regions and for all RCPs. Reductions in NO2 and PM2.5 concentrations lead to reductions in the AF estimated for future periods under all RCPs, for both pollutants. Total mortality burdens are also highly sensitive to future population projections. Accounting for population projections exacerbates differences in total UK-wide MDA8 O3-health burdens between present-day and future by up to a factor of ~3 but diminishes differences in NO2-health burdens. For PM2.5, accounting for future population projections results in additional UK-wide deaths brought forward compared to present-day under RCP2.6 and RCP6.0, even though the simulated PM2.5 concentrations for the 2050s are estimated to decrease. Thus, these results highlight the sensitivity of future health burdens in the UK to future trends in atmospheric emissions over the UK as well as future population projections.

Type: Article
Title: Future air pollution related health burdens associated with RCP emission changes in the UK
Location: Netherlands
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145635
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145635
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Climate change, Health impacts, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Population projections, RCPs
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10122177
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