Receive a weekly summary and discussion of the top papers of the week by leading researchers in the field.

In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Investigations on the chronic health effects of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure in China are limited due to the lack of long-term exposure data. Using satellite-driven models to generate spatiotemporally resolved PM2.5 levels, we aimed to estimate high-resolution, long-term PM2.5 and associated mortality burden in China. The multiangle implementation of atmospheric correction (MAIAC) aerosol optical depth (AOD) at 1-km resolution was employed as a primary predictor to estimate PM2.5 concentrations. Imputation techniques were adopted to fill in the missing AOD retrievals and provide accurate long-term AOD aggregations. Monthly PM2.5 concentrations in China from 2000 to 2016 were estimated using machine-learning approaches and used to analyze spatiotemporal trends of adult mortality attributable to PM2.5 exposure. Mean coverage of AOD increased from 56 to 100% over the 17-y period, with the accuracy of long-term averages enhanced after gap filling. Machine-learning models performed well with a random cross-validation R2 of 0.93 at the monthly level. For the time period outside the model training window, prediction R2 values were estimated to be 0.67 and 0.80 at the monthly and annual levels. Across the adult population in China, long-term PM2.5 exposures accounted for a total number of 30.8 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 28.6, 33.2) million premature deaths over the 17-y period, with an annual burden ranging from 1.5 (95% CI: 1.3, 1.6) to 2.2 (95% CI: 2.1, 2.4) million. Our satellite-based techniques provide reliable long-term PM2.5 estimates at a high spatial resolution, enhancing the assessment of adverse health effects and disease burden in China.

Liang Fengchao, Xiao Qingyang, Huang Keyong, Yang Xueli, Liu Fangchao, Li Jianxin, Lu Xiangfeng, Liu Yang, Gu Dongfeng


gap filling, high resolution, long-term trend, mortality burden, satellite-based PM2.5 estimation