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Climate change impacts on projections of excess mortality at 2030 using spatially varying ozone–temperature risk surfaces


We project the change in ozone-related mortality burden attributable to changes in climate between a historical (1995–2005) and near-future (2025–2035) time period while incorporating a non-linear and synergistic effect of ozone and temperature on mortality. We simulate air quality from climate projections varying only biogenic emissions and holding anthropogenic emissions constant, thus attributing changes in ozone only to changes in climate and independent of changes in air pollutant emissions. We estimate non-linear, spatially varying, ozone–temperature risk surfaces for 94 US urban areas using observed data. Using the risk surfaces and climate projections we estimate daily mortality attributable to ozone exceeding 40 p.p.b. (moderate level) and 75 p.p.b. (US ozone NAAQS) for each time period. The average increases in city-specific median April–October ozone and temperature between time periods are 1.02 p.p.b. and 1.94 °F; however, the results varied by region. Increases in ozone because of climate change result in an increase in ozone mortality burden. Mortality attributed to ozone exceeding 40 p.p.b. increases by 7.7% (1.6–14.2%). Mortality attributed to ozone exceeding 75 p.p.b. increases by 14.2% (1.6 28.9%). The absolute increase in excess ozone mortality is larger for changes in moderate ozone levels, reflecting the larger number of days with moderate ozone levels.

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The United States Environmental Protection Agency through its Office of Research and Development funded and managed the research described here. It has been subjected to the Agency’s administrative review and approved for publication. Support for AW: this research was supported in part by NIH Grants ES007142 and R21 ES022585-01, and by an appointment to the Research Participation Program for the US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education through an interagency agreement between the US Department of Energy and EPA. Support for BJR: this research was supported by NIH Grants 5R01ES014843-02 and R21ES022795-01A1 and EPA Grant R835228.

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Correspondence to Ander Wilson.

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Wilson, A., Reich, B., Nolte, C. et al. Climate change impacts on projections of excess mortality at 2030 using spatially varying ozone–temperature risk surfaces. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 27, 118–124 (2017).

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  • climate change
  • mortality
  • ozone
  • ozone–temperature interaction

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