Bi et al.: Combining Machine Learning and Numerical Simulation for High-Resolution PM2.5 Concentration Forecast

Forecasting ambient PM2.5 concentrations with spatiotemporal coverage is key to alerting decision makers of pollution episodes and preventing detrimental public exposure. In this study, we developed a PM2.5 forecast framework by combining the robust Random Forest algorithm with a publicly accessible global CTM forecast product, NASA’s Goddard Earth Observing System “Composition Forecasting” (GEOS-CF), providing spatiotemporally continuous PM2.5 concentration forecasts for the next 5 days at a 1 km spatial resolution. Our forecast experiment was conducted for a region in Central China including the populous and polluted Fenwei Plain. Our model showed satisfactory forecast performance and substantially reduced the large biases in GEOS-CF. Our proposed framework requires minimal computational resources compared to running CTMs at urban scales, enabling near-real-time PM2.5 forecast in resource-restricted environments. 

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Stowell et al.: Asthma exacerbation due to climate change-induced wildfire smoke in the Western US

Climate change and human activities have drastically altered the natural wildfire balance in the Western US and increased population health risks due to exposure to pollutants from fire smoke. Using dynamically downscaled climate model projections, we estimated additional asthma emergency room visits and hospitalizations due to exposure to smoke fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the Western US in the 2050s. Under the ICLUS A2 population scenario, we estimated the smoke-related asthma events could increase at a rate of 15.1 visits per 10 000 persons in the Western US, with the highest rates of increased asthma (25.7–41.9 per 10 000) in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Estimated healthcare costs of smoke-induced asthma exacerbation to be over $1.5 billion during a single future fire season. Open access article link here.