Title: Evaluation and uncertainty estimation of the impact of air quality modelling on crop yields and premature deaths using a multi-model ensemble
Citation: SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT vol. 633 p. 1437-1452
Publication Year: 2018
JRC N°: JRC108960
ISSN: 0048-9697
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC108960
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.03.317
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: This study promotes the critical use of air pollution modelling results for health and agriculture impacts, with the primary goal of providing more reliable estimates to decision makers. To date, the accuracy of air quality (AQ) models and the effects of model-to-model result variability (which we will refer to as model uncertainty) on impact assessment studies have been often ignored, thus undermining the robustness of the information used in the decision making process and the confidence in the results obtained. A suite of twelve PM2.5 and ozone concentration fields produced by regional-scale chemistry transport Air Quality (AQ) models during the third phase of the Air Quality Model Evaluation International Initiative (AQMEII) has been used to calculate the impact of air pollution on premature deaths and crop yields. An innovative technique is applied to bias-adjust the models to available observations. The model results for ozone and PM2.5 are combined in a multi-model (MM) ensemble, which is used to estimate the damage and economic cost to human health and crop yields, as well as the associated uncertainties. The MM ensemble quantifies directly the uncertainty introduced by AQ models into the air pollution impact assessment chain, while the indirect use of experimental information through a bias adjustment, reduces the uncertainty in the ozone and PM2.5 fields and subsequently the uncertainty of the final impact assessment and cost valuation. The analysis over the European countries analysed in this study shows a mean number of premature deaths due to exposure to PM2.5 and ozone of approximately 370,000 (inter-quantile range between 260,000 and 415,000) and a relative yield loss of approximately 7% to 9% (depending on the exposure metrics used, for wheat and maize together). Furthermore, the results indicate that a reduction in the uncertainty of the modelled ozone by 61% and by 80% (depending on the aggregation metric used) and by 46% for PM2.5, produces a reduction in the uncertainty in premature mortality and crop loss of N60%, and of an equivalent percentage in the final uncertainty of cost valuation, providing decision makers with more accurate estimations for more targeted interventions.
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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