Jia Coco Liu, Loretta J. Mickley, Melissa P. Sulprizio, Xu Yue, Roger D. Peng, Francesca Dominici and Michelle L. Bell

Environmental Research Letters

Published date December 8, 2016

Future respiratory hospital admissions from wildfire smoke under climate change in the Western US

  • States that the health impacts of wildfire smoke under climate change are largely unknown
  • Links projections of future levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) specifically from wildfire smoke under the A1B climate change scenario using the GEOS-Chem model for 2046–2051, present-day estimates of hospital admission impacts from wildfire smoke, and future population projections to estimate the change in respiratory hospital admissions for persons ≥65 years by county (n = 561) from wildfire PM2.5 under climate change in the Western US
  • Finds that the increase in intense wildfire smoke days from climate change would result in an estimated 178 (95% confidence interval: 6.2, 361) additional respiratory hospital admissions in the Western US, accounting for estimated future increase in the elderly population
  • Results indicate that climate change imposes an estimated additional 4990 high-pollution smoke days
  • Results provide important scientific evidence of an often-ignored aspect of wildfire impact, and information on their anticipated spatial distribution