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2019
Green, H, Bailey J, Schwarz L, Vanos J, Ebi K, Benmarhnia T.  2019.  Impact of heat on mortality and morbidity in low and middle income countries: A review of the epidemiological evidence and considerations for future research. Environmental Research. 171:80-91.   10.1016/j.envres.2019.01.010   AbstractWebsite

Heat waves and high air temperature are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. However, the majority of research conducted on this topic is focused on high income areas of the world. Although heat waves have the most severe impacts on vulnerable populations, relatively few studies have studied their impacts in low and middle income countries (LMICs). The aim of this paper is to review the existing evidence in the literature on the impact of heat on human health in LMICs. We identified peer-reviewed epidemiologic studies published in English between January 1980 and August 2018 investigating potential associations between high ambient temperature or heat waves and mortality or morbidity. We selected studies according to the following criteria: quantitative studies that used primary and/or secondary data and report effect estimates where ambient temperature or heat waves are the main exposure of interest in relation to human morbidity or mortality within LMICs. Of the total 146 studies selected, eighty-two were conducted in China, nine in other countries of East Asia and the Pacific, twelve in South Asia, ten in Sub-Saharan Africa, eight in the Middle East and North Africa, and seven in each of Latin America and Europe. The majority of studies (92.9%) found positive associations between heat and human morbidity/mortality. Additionally, while outcome variables and study design differed greatly, most utilized a time-series study design and examined overall heath related morbidity/mortality impacts in an entire population, although it is notable that the selected studies generally found that the elderly, women, and individuals within the low socioeconomic brackets were the most vulnerable to the effects of high temperature. By highlighting the existing evidence on the impact of extreme heat on health in LMICs, we hope to determine data needs and help direct future studies in addressing this knowledge gap. The focus on LMICs is justified by the lack of studies and data studying the health burden of higher temperatures in these regions even though LMICs have a lower capacity to adapt to high temperatures and thus an increased risk.

Hosokawa, Y, Casa DJ, Trtanj JM, Belval LN, Deuster PA, Giltz SM, Grundstein AJ, Hawkins MD, Huggins RA, Jacklitsch B, Jardine JF, Jones H, Kazman JB, Reynolds ME, Stearns RL, Vanos JK, Williams AL, Williams WJ.  2019.  Activity modification in heat: critical assessment of guidelines across athletic, occupational, and military settings in the USA. International Journal of Biometeorology. 63:405-427.   10.1007/s00484-019-01673-6   AbstractWebsite

Exertional heat illness (EHI) risk is a serious concern among athletes, laborers, and warfighters. US Governing organizations have established various activity modification guidelines (AMGs) and other risk mitigation plans to help ensure the health and safety of their workers. The extent of metabolic heat production and heat gain that ensue from their work are the core reasons for EHI in the aforementioned population. Therefore, the major focus of AMGs in all settings is to modulate the work intensity and duration with additional modification in adjustable extrinsic risk factors (e.g., clothing, equipment) and intrinsic risk factors (e.g., heat acclimatization, fitness, hydration status). Future studies should continue to integrate more physiological (e.g., valid body fluid balance, internal body temperature) and biometeorological factors (e.g., cumulative heat stress) to the existing heat risk assessment models to reduce the assumptions and limitations in them. Future interagency collaboration to advance heat mitigation plans among physically active population is desired to maximize the existing resources and data to facilitate advancement in AMGs for environmental heat.

Cakmak, S, Hebbern C, Vanos J, Crouse DL, Tjepkema M.  2019.  Exposure to traffic and mortality risk in the 1991-2011 Canadian Census Health and Environment Cohort (CanCHEC). Environment International. 124:16-24.   10.1016/j.envint.2018.12.045   AbstractWebsite

There is evidence that local traffic density and living near major roads can adversely affect health outcomes. We aimed to assess the relationship between local road length, proximity to primary highways, and cause-specific mortality in the 1991 Canadian Census Health and Environment Cohort (CanCHEC). In this long-term study of 2.6 million people, based on completion of the long-form census in 1991 and followed until 2011, we used annual residential addresses to determine the total length of local roads within 200m of postal code representative points and the postal code's distance to primary highways. The association between exposure to traffic and cause-specific non-accidental mortality was estimated using Cox proportional hazards models, adjusting for individual covariates and contextual factors, including census division-level proportion in high school, the percentage of recent immigrants, and neighborhood income. We performed sensitivity analyses, including adjustment for exposure to PM2.5, NO2, or O-3, restricting to subjects in core urban areas, and spatial variation by climatic zone. The hazard ratio (HR) for all non-accidental mortality associated with an interquartile increase in length of local roads was 1.05 (95% CI 1.04, 1.05), while for an interquartile range increase in proximity to primary highways, the HR was 1.03 (95% CI 1.02, 1.04). HRs by traffic quartile increased with increasing lengths of local roads, as well as with closer proximity to primary highways, for all mortality causes. The associations were stronger within subjects' resident in urban core areas, attenuated by adjustment for PM2.5, and HRs showed limited spatial variation by climatic zone. In the CanCHEC cohort, exposure to higher road density and proximity to major traffic roads was associated with increased mortality risk from cerebrovascular and cardiovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, COPD, respiratory disease, and lung cancer, with unclear results for diabetes.

Vanos, JK, Kosaka E, Iida A, Yokohari M, Middel A, Scott-Fleming J, Brown RD.  2019.  Planning for spectator thermal comfort and health in the face of extreme heat: The Tokyo 2020 Olympic marathons. Science of the Total Environment. 657:904-917.   10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.447   AbstractWebsite

The 2020 Olympic Games marathon will be run through the streets of Tokyo on the mornings of August 2nd and 9th, a time of year that is typically hot, sunny, and humid. Few studies have assessed the potential impact of extreme heat along the marathon course to understand the multiple factors (e.g., radiation, wind flow) affecting human thermal comfort (TC) as influenced by urban design and vegetation. The current research establishes a baseline of microclimate conditions and scenarios to estimate the projected TC along the marathon route for spectators. Mobile microclimate data (air and surface temperatures, solar radiation, humidity, wind speed) were collected along the marathon course over 15 periods in the summer of 2016 and aligned with sky view factors (SVF). Human energy budget modeling was applied to provide spatially-explicit heat budget and TC information along the route. Conditions are expected to create the most discomfort along open, sun-exposed locations, with similar to 50% of the area along the second half of the course resulting in 'Hot' (budget > 200 W m(-2)) or 'Very hot' (budget > 295 W m(-2)) conditions. The heat strain index frequently rises above 80% in these locations, with high humidity and low wind flow exacerbating discomfort. Buildings and trees producing a low SVF over roads and sidewalks protect spectators from the morning radiant heat, but such locations should be balanced with wind flow to optimize comfort. The modeling and spatial information can aid in preparing for and mitigating heat stress during the Olympics. Potential solutions can be implemented in collaboration with local organizers and government. This 'research through design' strategy can aid in preparing for and mitigating heat illness during the Olympics. Knowledge gained can be extended to other areas of Tokyo to reduce urban heat, and further provide targeted guidance for effective environmental cooling techniques for human health. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

2018
Zhao, NZ, Liu Y, Vanos JK, Cao GF.  2018.  Day-of-week and seasonal patterns of PM2.5 concentrations over the United States: Time-series analyses using the Prophet procedure. Atmospheric Environment. 192:116-127.   10.1016/j.atmosenv.2018.08.050   AbstractWebsite

Fluctuations of ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations show clear yearly and weekly patterns, which has been revealed by previous studies. However, reliability of those studies may be affected by their small research areas, short observation periods, and/or the lack of using specialized statistical approaches for time series. The current study applies a recently developed time-series analysis procedure, Prophet, to investigate seasonality of daily PM2.5 concentrations over nine years (2007-2015) measured at 220 monitoring stations across the United States. Prophet is a new tool for producing high quality forecasts from time series data that have characteristics of multiple temporal patterns with either linear or non-linear growth/decline. Through decomposing each PM2.5 time series into three major components (i.e., trend, seasonality, and holidays), we observed periodically changing patterns of PM2.5 concentrations weekly and yearly consistent with previous findings. Specifically, relatively high PM2.5 concentrations tend to appear in the month of January and on Fridays, and PM2.5 concentrations on Sunday are generally lower than those on most other days of the week. However, we discovered that high PM2.5 concentrations are also likely to appear in July. Additionally, compared to Fridays in most studies, the highest PM2.5 concentrations are found to more likely occur on Saturdays, while the lowest concentrations are found on Monday as universally as on Sunday. Beyond understanding the seasonality of PM2.5 concentrations, this study revealed the potential use of Prophet, originally designed for business time series, for detecting periodicities of environmental phenomena.

McGregor, GR, Vanos JK.  2018.  Heat: a primer for public health researchers. Public Health. 161:138-146.   10.1016/j.puhe.2017.11.005   AbstractWebsite

Objectives: To provide a primer on the physical characteristics of heat from a biometeorological perspective for those interested in the epidemiology of extreme heat. Study design: A literature search design was used. Methods: A review of the concepts of heat, heat stress and human heat balance was conducted using Web of Sciences, Scopus and PubMed. Results: Heat, as recognised in the field of human biometeorology, is a complex phenomenon resulting from the synergistic effects of air temperature, humidity and ventilation levels, radiation loads and metabolic activity. Heat should therefore not be conflated with high temperatures. A range of empirical, direct and rational heat stress indices have been developed to assess heat stress. Conclusion: The conceptualisation of heat stress is best described with reference to the human heat balance which describes the various avenues for heat gain to and heat loss from the body. Air temperature alone is seldom the reason for heat stress and thus heat-related health effects. (c) 2017 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Herdt, AJ, Brown RD, Scott-Fleming I, Cao GF, Macdonald M, Henderson D, Vanos JK.  2018.  Outdoor thermal comfort during anomalous heat at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada. Atmosphere. 9   10.3390/atmos9080321   AbstractWebsite

Mass sporting events in the summertime are influenced by underlying weather patterns, with high temperatures posing a risk for spectators and athletes alike. To better understand weather variations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) during the Pan American Games in 2015 (PA15 Games), Environment and Climate Change Canada deployed a mesoscale monitoring network system of 53 weather stations. Spatial maps across the GTA demonstrate large variations by heat metric (e.g., maximum temperature, humidex, and wet bulb globe temperature), identifying Hamilton, Ontario as an area of elevated heat and humidity, and hence risk for heat-related illness. A case study of the Hamilton Soccer Center examined on-site thermal comfort during a heat event and PA15 Soccer Games, demonstrating that athletes and spectators were faced with thermal discomfort and a heightened risk of heat-related illness. Results are corroborated by First Aid and emergency response data during the events, as well as insight from personal experiences and Twitter feed. Integrating these results provides new information on potential benefits to society from utilizing mesonet systems during large-scale sporting events. Results further improve our understanding of intra-urban heat variability and heat-health burden. The benefits of utilizing more comprehensive modeling approaches for human heat stress that coincide with fine-scale weather information are discussed.

Joe, P, Belair S, Bernier NB, Bouchet V, Brook JR, Brunet D, Burrows W, Charland J-P, Dehghan A, Driedger N, Duhaime C, Evans G, Filion A-B, Frenette R, de Grandpré J, Gultepe I, Henderson D, Herdt A, Hilker N, Huang L, Hung E, Isaac G, Jeong C-H, Johnston D, Klaassen J, Leroyer S, Lin H, Macdonald M, MacPhee J, Mariani Z, Munoz T, Reid J, Robichaud A, Rochon Y, Shairsingh K, Sills D, Spacek L, Stroud C, Su Y, Taylor N, Vanos J, Voogt J, Wang JM, Wiechers T, Wren S, Yang H, Yip T.  2018.  The Environment Canada Pan and Parapan American Science Showcase Project. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 99:921-953.   10.1175/bams-d-16-0162.1   AbstractWebsite

The Pan and Parapan American Games (PA15) are the third largest sporting event in the world and were held in Toronto in the summer of 2015 (10–26 July and 7–15 August). This was used as an opportunity to coordinate and showcase existing innovative research and development activities related to weather, air quality (AQ), and health at Environment and Climate Change Canada. New observational technologies included weather stations based on compact sensors that were augmented with black globe thermometers, two Doppler lidars, two wave buoys, a 3D lightning mapping array, two new AQ stations, and low-cost AQ and ultraviolet sensors. These were supplemented by observations from other agencies, four mobile vehicles, two mobile AQ laboratories, and two supersites with enhanced vertical profiling. High-resolution modeling for weather (250 m and 1 km), AQ (2.5 km), lake circulation (2 km), and wave models (250-m, 1-km, and 2.5-km ensembles) were run. The focus of the science, which guided the design of the observation network, was to characterize and investigate the lake breeze, which affects thunderstorm initiation, air pollutant transport, and heat stress. Experimental forecasts and nowcasts were provided by research support desks. Web portals provided access to the experimental products for other government departments, public health authorities, and PA15 decision-makers. The data have been released through the government of Canada’s Open Data Portal and as a World Meteorological Organization’s Global Atmospheric Watch Urban Research Meteorology and Environment dataset.

Kalkstein, AJ, Kalkstein LS, Vanos JK, Eisenman DP, Dixon PG.  2018.  Heat/mortality sensitivities in Los Angeles during winter: a unique phenomenon in the United States. Environmental Health. 17   10.1186/s12940-018-0389-7   AbstractWebsite

Background: Extreme heat is often associated with elevated levels of human mortality, particularly across the mid-latitudes. Los Angeles, CA exhibits a unique, highly variable winter climate, with brief periods of intense heat caused by downsloping winds commonly known as Santa Ana winds. The goal is to determine if Los Angeles County is susceptible to heat-related mortality during the winter season. This is the first study to specifically evaluate heatrelated mortality during the winter for a U.S. city. Methods: Utilizing the Spatial Synoptic Classification system in Los Angeles County from 1979 through 2010, we first relate daily human mortality to synoptic air mass type during the winter season (December, January, February) using Welch's t-tests. However, this methodology is only somewhat effective at controlling for important inter-and intra-annual trends in human mortality unrelated to heat such as influenza outbreaks. As a result, we use distributed lag nonlinear modeling (DLNM) to evaluate if the relative risk of human mortality increases during higher temperatures in Los Angeles, as the DLNM is more effective at controlling for variability at multiple temporal scales within the human mortality dataset. Results: Significantly higher human mortality is uncovered in winter when dry tropical air is present in Los Angeles, particularly among those 65 years and older (p < 0.001). The DLNM reveals the relative risk of human mortality increases when above average temperatures are present. Results are especially pronounced for maximum and mean temperatures, along with total mortality and those 65 +. Conclusions: The discovery of heat-related mortality in winter is a unique finding in the United States, and we recommend stakeholders consider warning and intervention techniques to mitigate the role of winter heat on human health in the County.

Kosaka, E, Iida A, Vanos J, Middel A, Yokohari M, Brown R.  2018.  Microclimate variation and estimated heat stress of runners in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Marathon. Atmosphere. 9   10.3390/atmos9050192   AbstractWebsite

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be held in July and August. As these are the hottest months in Tokyo, the risk of heat stress to athletes and spectators in outdoor sporting events is a serious concern. This study focuses on the marathon races, which are held outside for a prolonged time, and evaluates the potential heat stress of marathon runners using the COMFA (COMfort FormulA) Human Heat Balance (HBB) Model. The study applies a four-step procedure: (a) measure the thermal environment along the marathon course; (b) estimate heat stress on runners by applying COMFA; (c) identify locations where runners may be exposed to extreme heat stress; and (d) discuss measures to mitigate the heat stress on runners. On clear sunny days, the entire course is rated as dangerous' or extremely dangerous', and within the latter half of the course, there is a 10-km portion where values continuously exceed the extremely dangerous level. Findings illustrate which stretches have the highest need for mitigation measures, such as starting the race one hour earlier, allowing runners to run in the shade of buildings or making use of urban greenery including expanding the tree canopy.

Hosokawa, Y, Grundstein AJ, Vanos JK, Cooper ER.  2018.  Environmental Condition and Monitoring. Sport and Physical Activity in the Heat. :147-162.: Springer Abstract
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2017
Vanos, JK, Herdt AJ, Lochbaum MR.  2017.  Effects of physical activity and shade on the heat balance and thermal perceptions of children in a playground microclimate. Building and Environment. 126:119-131.   10.1016/j.buildenv.2017.09.026   AbstractWebsite

Outdoor thermal comfort (TC) is an important parameter in assessing the value and health utility of a recreational space. Given the public health significance of child heat illness, the ability to model children's heat balance and TC during activity has received little attention. The current pilot study tests the performance of an outdoor human heat balance model on children playing in warm/hot outdoor environments in sun and shade. Fourteen children aged 9-13 participated in the 8-day study in Texas in spring 2016, performing physical activity while wearing heartrate monitors and completing thermal perception surveys (e.g., actual thermal sensation (ATS)). Surveys were compared to predicted thermal sensation (PTS) based on principles of human-environment heat exchange using personal data and a suite of on-site microclimate information. Results demonstrate the model to significantly predict ATS votes (Spearman's rho = 0.504). Subjective preferred change was also significantly correlated to modeled PTS (rho = -0.607). Radiation, air temperature, windspeed, and level of tiredness were significant predictors of ATS. Finally, the mean human energy balance was significantly lower in the shade (-168 W m(-2)), thus lowering heat stress potential, with the model predicting ATS with little-to-no error (0.2 and 0.0 scale error units in sun and shade, respectively). This study demonstrates an ability to estimate a child's heat balance while accounting for changes in major heat contributors (e.g., radiation, metabolism), and is the first study to evaluate TC of children during activity in outdoor built environments. New insights of heat perception may aid in recognition of often under-recognized heat stress. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Solís, P, Vanos JK, Forbis RE.  2017.  The Decision-Making/Accountability Spatial Incongruence Problem for Research Linking Environmental Science and Policy. Geographical Review. 107:680-704.   10.1111/gere.12240   Abstract

Increasingly, scholars engage policy makers around fundamental, complex questions on environmental change in interdisciplinary settings. Researchers attempting to develop robust contributions to knowledge that can support policymaker understandings in this context face significant inferential challenges in dealing with the spatial dimension of their phenomenon of interest. In this paper, we extend an understanding of well-defined methodological challenges familiar to applied spatial scientists by explicitly articulating the Decision-Making/Accountability, Spatial Incongruence Problem, or DASIP. Three case studies illustrate how spatial incongruences matter to researchers who work on complex, interdisciplinary problems, while seeking to understand decision-making or policy-related phenomenon: urban heat-island mitigation research in Arizona, water transfer conflicts in Kansas, and hydraulic-fracturing debates in Texas. With such examples, we aim to evoke a deeper understanding of this problem in applied research and also inspire thinking about how scholars might innovate methods for creating knowledge about environmental change that supports spatially accountable decision making.

Mehdipoor, H, Vanos JK, Zurita-Milla R, Cao GF.  2017.  Short communication: emerging technologies for biometeorology. International Journal of Biometeorology. 61:S81-S88.   10.1007/s00484-017-1399-9   AbstractWebsite

The first decade of the twenty-first century saw remarkable technological advancements for use in biometeorology. These emerging technologies have allowed for the collection of new data and have further emphasized the need for specific and/or changing systems for efficient data management, data processing, and advanced representations of new data through digital information management systems. This short communication provides an overview of new hardware and software technologies that support biometeorologists in representing and understanding the influence of atmospheric processes on living organisms.

Grundstein, A, Knox JA, Vanos J, Cooper ER, Casa DJ.  2017.  American football and fatal exertional heat stroke: a case study of Korey Stringer. International Journal of Biometeorology. 61:1471-1480.   10.1007/s00484-017-1324-2   AbstractWebsite

On August 1, 2001, Korey Stringer, a Pro Bowl offensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings, became the first and to date the only professional American football player to die from exertional heat stroke (EHS). The death helped raise awareness of the dangers of exertional heat illnesses in athletes and prompted the development of heat safety policies at the professional, collegiate, and interscholastic levels. Despite the public awareness of this death, no published study has examined in detail the circumstances surrounding Stringer's fatal EHS. Using the well-documented details of the case, our study shows that Stringer's fatal EHS was the result of a combination of physiological limitations, organizational and treatment failings, and extreme environmental conditions. The COMfort FormulA (COMFA) energy budget model was used to assess the relative importance of several extrinsic factors on Stringer's EHS, including weather conditions, clothing insulation, and activity levels. We found that Stringer's high-intensity training in relation to the oppressive environmental conditions was the most prominent factor in producing dangerous, uncompensable heat stress conditions and that the full football uniform played a smaller role in influencing Stringer's energy budget. The extreme energy budget levels that led to the fatal EHS would have been avoided according to our modeling through a combination of reduced intensity and lower clothing insulation. Finally, a long delay in providing medical treatment made the EHS fatal. These results highlight the importance of modern heat safety guidelines that provide controls on extrinsic factors, such as the adjustment of duration and intensity of training along with protective equipment modifications based on environmental conditions and the presence of an emergency action plan focused on rapid recognition and immediate on-site aggressive cooling of EHS cases.

Kuras, ER, Richardson MB, Calkins MM, Ebi KL, Hess JJ, Kintziger KW, Jagger MA, Middel A, Scott AA, Spector JT, Uejio CK, Vanos JK, Zaitchik BF, Gohlke JM, Hondula DM.  2017.  Opportunities and Challenges for Personal Heat Exposure Research. Environ Health Perspect. 125:085001.   10.1289/ehp556   Abstract

BACKGROUND: Environmental heat exposure is a public health concern. The impacts of environmental heat on mortality and morbidity at the population scale are well documented, but little is known about specific exposures that individuals experience. OBJECTIVES: The first objective of this work was to catalyze discussion of the role of personal heat exposure information in research and risk assessment. The second objective was to provide guidance regarding the operationalization of personal heat exposure research methods. DISCUSSION: We define personal heat exposure as realized contact between a person and an indoor or outdoor environment that poses a risk of increases in body core temperature and/or perceived discomfort. Personal heat exposure can be measured directly with wearable monitors or estimated indirectly through the combination of time-activity and meteorological data sets. Complementary information to understand individual-scale drivers of behavior, susceptibility, and health and comfort outcomes can be collected from additional monitors, surveys, interviews, ethnographic approaches, and additional social and health data sets. Personal exposure research can help reveal the extent of exposure misclassification that occurs when individual exposure to heat is estimated using ambient temperature measured at fixed sites and can provide insights for epidemiological risk assessment concerning extreme heat. CONCLUSIONS: Personal heat exposure research provides more valid and precise insights into how often people encounter heat conditions and when, where, to whom, and why these encounters occur. Published literature on personal heat exposure is limited to date, but existing studies point to opportunities to inform public health practice regarding extreme heat, particularly where fine-scale precision is needed to reduce health consequences of heat exposure. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP556.

Graham, DA, Vanos JK, Kenny NA, Brown RD.  2017.  Modeling the Effects of Urban Design on Emergency Medical Response Calls during Extreme Heat Events in Toronto, Canada. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 14   10.3390/ijerph14070778   AbstractWebsite

Urban residents are at risk of health-related illness during extreme heat events but the dangers are not equal in all parts of a city. Previous studies have found a relationship between physical characteristics of neighborhoods and the number of emergency medical response (EMR) calls. We used a human energy budget model to test the effects of landscape modifications that are designed to cool the environment on the expected number of EMR calls in two neighborhoods in Toronto, Canada during extreme heat events. The cooling design strategies reduced the energy overload on people by approximately 20-30 W m(-2), resulting in an estimated 40-50% reduction in heat-related ambulance calls. These findings advance current understanding of the relationship between the urban landscape and human health and suggest straightforward design strategies to positively influence urban heat-health.

Vanos, JK, McKercher GR, Naughton K, Lochbaum M.  2017.  Schoolyard shade and sun exposure: Assessment of personal monitoring during children's physical activity. Photochemistry and Photobiology. 93:1123-1132.   10.1111/php.12721   AbstractWebsite

Childhood exposure to ultraviolet radiation ( UVR) is a major risk factor for the development of melanoma later in life. However, it is challenging to accurately determine personal outdoor exposure to UVR, specifically erythemally weighted UVR (UVEry), due to technological constraints, variable time- activity patterns, and the influence of outdoor environmental design. To address this challenge, this study utilized mobile and stationary techniques to examine the UVEry exposures of 14 children in a schoolyard in Lubbock, TX, in spring 2016. The aims of the study were to examine the influence of artificial shade on personal UVEry exposures and to assess full sun exposure ratios (ERs) within the same playground microenvironment. On average, personal wrist dosimeters worn during play in the sun measured 18% of the total onsite UVEry measured by a stationary UV pyranometer. Shade was found to significantly reduce the personal UVEry exposures by 55%, UVB280-315 nm exposures by 91%, and the overall solar radiation by 84%. Substantial benefits can be garnered through focused design of children's recreational space to utilize shade- both natural and artificial-to reduce UVR exposures during play, and to extend safe outdoor stays. Finally, although the wrist is a practical location for a dosimeter, it often underestimates full exposures, particularly during physical activity.

McKercher, GR, Salmond JA, Vanos JK.  2017.  Characteristics and applications of small, portable gaseous air pollution monitors. Environmental Pollution. 223:102-110.   10.1016/j.envpol.2016.12.045   AbstractWebsite

Background: Traditional approaches for measuring air quality based on fixed measurements are inadequate for personal exposure monitoring. To combat this issue, the use of small, portable gas-sensing air pollution monitoring technologies is increasing, with researchers and individuals employing portable and mobile methods to obtain more spatially and temporally representative air pollution data. However, many commercially available options are built for various applications and based on different technologies, assumptions, and limitations. A review of the monitor characteristics of small, gaseous monitors is missing from current scientific literature. Purpose: A state-of-the-art review of small, portable monitors that measure ambient gaseous outdoor pollutants was developed to address broad trends during the last 5-10 years, and to help future experimenters interested in studying gaseous air pollutants choose monitors appropriate for their application and sampling needs. Methods: Trends in small, portable gaseous air pollution monitor uses and technologies were first identified and discussed in a review of literature. Next, searches of online databases were performed for articles containing specific information related to performance, characteristics, and use of such monitors that measure one or more of three criteria gaseous air pollutants: ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide. All data were summarized into reference tables for comparison between applications, physical features, sensing capabilities, and costs of the devices. Results: Recent portable monitoring trends are strongly related to associated applications and audiences. Fundamental research requires monitors with the best individual performance, and thus the highest cost technology. Monitor networking favors real-time capabilities and moderate cost for greater reproduction. Citizen science and crowdsourcing applications allow for lower-cost components; however important strengths and limitations for each application must be addressed or acknowledged for the given use. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Liu, Y, Zhao N, Vanos JK, Cao G.  2017.  Effects of synoptic weather on ground-level PM2.5 concentrations in the United States. Atmospheric Environment. 148:297-305.   10.1016/j.atmosenv.2016.10.052   Abstract

It is known that individual meteorological factors affect the concentrations of fine particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5), yet the specific meteorological effects found in previous studies are largely inconsistent and even conflicting. This study investigates influences of daily and short term changes in synoptic weather on ground-level PM2.5 concentrations in a large geographical area (75 cities across the contiguous United States (U.S.)) by using ten-year (2001–2010) spatial synoptic classification (SSC) data. We find that in the spring, summer, and fall the presence of the tropical weather types (i.e., dry-tropical (DT) and moist-tropical (MT)) is likely to associate with significantly higher levels of PM2.5 as compared to an all-weather-type-day average, and the presence of the polar weather types (i.e., dry-polar (DP) and moist-polar (MP)) is associated with significantly lower PM2.5 concentrations. The short-term (day to day) changes in synoptic weather types in a region are also likely to lead to significant variance in PM2.5 concentrations. For example, the largest increase in PM2.5 concentration occurs with the synoptic weather type changing from DP-to-MT. Conversely, a MT-to-DP weather type change results in the largest decrease in PM2.5 concentrations. Compared to air temperature, the effects of atmospheric moisture on PM2.5 concentration tend to be subtle, demonstrating that in conjunction with moderate temperature, neither the dry nor the moist air (except moist-moderate (MM) in summer) are associated with significantly high or low PM2.5 concentrations. Finally, we find that the effects of the synoptic weather type on PM2.5 concentrations may vary for different seasons and geographical areas. These findings suggest that interactions between atmospheric factors and seasonal and/or geographical factors have considerable impacts on the PM2.5 concentrations, and therefore should be considered in addition to the SSC when conducting environment health assessments.

Allen, MJ, Vanos J, Hondula DM, Vecellio DJ, Knight D, Mehdipoor H, Lucas R, Fuhrmann C, Lokys H, Lees A.  2017.  Supporting sustainability initiatives through biometeorology education and training. 61(1):93-106.: Springer Abstract
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