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2016 Conference

Abstract Number: P3-004* | ID: 3089

Future Health Effects due to Wildfire Smoke under Climate Change in the Western US

Jia Coco Liu*, Yale University, United States,; Loretta Mickley, Harvard University, United States,; Melissa P. Sulprizio, Harvard University, United States,; Xu Yue, Harvard University, United States,; Francesca Dominici, Harvard University, United States,; Michelle Bell, Yale University, United States,;
Studies have demonstrated that wildfire is anticipated to be more frequent and intense under climate change. As a result, wildfires may emit air pollutants that can impact health in communities in the future. However, no previous study has quantified hospital admissions induced by wildfire smoke by mid-century. This interdisciplinary study assessed future hospital admissions effect from increases in wildfire smoke in the Western US (561 counties).
We linked projections of future levels of PM2.5 specifically from wildfire smoke under the A1B climate scenario using GEOS-Chem model for 2046-2051 and for present day for 2004-2009. We employed present-day health impact estimates of wildfire smoke and future population projections to estimate the change in respiratory hospital admissions for persons >65 years by county under climate change.
We estimated that the increase in intense wildfire smoke days from climate change would impose 178 (95% confidence interval: 6.2, 361) additional respiratory hospital admissions in the Western US, accounting for estimated future increase in the elderly population. Central Colorado, Washington and southern California are estimated to experience the highest percentage increase in respiratory admissions from wildfire smoke under climate change. Population growth and aging may worsen the health impact from wildfires by mid-century in the Western US.
The increase in respiratory admissions due to future wildfire smoke under climate change can inform the development of environmental and health policies in response to climate change. Climate change adaptation policies could incorporate reducing health risks from natural disasters such as wildfires.