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Atmospheric Modeling in Human Health & Climate Change Risk Assessment: Wildfire Smoke Exposures

Atmospheric Modeling in Human Health & Climate Change Risk Assessment: Wildfire Smoke Exposures


Project Team

Patricia D. Koman - U-M School of Public Health (PI)
Allison Steiner - U-M College of Engineering (Co-I)
Marie O’Neill - U-M School of Public Health (Co-I)
Tim Dvonch - U-M School of Public Health (Co-I)
Nancy French - Michigan Technological University
Shiliang Wu - Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences and Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University
Colleen Reid - Department of Geography, University of Colorado at Boulder
Sumi Hoshiko - California Department of Public Health

Project Summary

In high wildfire activity areas such as California, and increasingly with climate change, it is critical to understand wildfire smoke exposure impacts accurately so that more effective and sustainable public health actions can be taken. Our long-­term actionable aim was to identify spatiotemporal factors that increase vulnerability of people to wildfire smoke exposure, as well as more accurate specification of the exposure-­disease relationship.

The purpose of this multi-­disciplinary sustainability work was to resolve key technical issues related to atmospheric modeling used to develop environmental exposure metrics for a future planned health and geospatial vulnerability study. To address these atmospheric modeling (exposure assessment) issues, the team convened a workshop with the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity, a partner on the project. Through the project, the team developed a white paper, refined their methodology as input to future grant proposals, and strengthened their collaborative partnerships. The team also hosted and recorded research seminars to broaden the impact of the team’s scholarship and to involve students and faculty.

Achieving the long­-term goal of enhanced understanding of health impacts of climate change from wildfire smoke exposure and identification of vulnerable communities will enhance mitigation measures and planning which can be used in on-­going risk assessment and planning to improve public health, equity, sustainability and preparedness.


"Health Effects Of The 2008 Northern California Wildfires: a spatiotemporal approach"  (Video Recording) Environmental Research Seminar, Colleen Reid, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Colorado
Koman, T., Billmire, M., Baker, K., de Majo, R., Anderson, F., Hoshiko, S., Thelen, B., and French, N. (2019). Mapping Modeled Exposure of Wildland Fire Smoke for Human Health Studies in California. Atmosphere, 10(6), 308; doi:10.3390/atmos10060308 
For more information, read the final project report (PDF)
This project received a $10,000 Emerging Opportunities Fall Catalyst Grant in 2017.