Aerosol exposure versus aerosol cooling of climate: what is the optimal emission reduction strategy for human health? 1Div. of Nuclear Physics, Dept. of Physics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
07 Oct 2010
2Div. of Global Health, Dept. of Public Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
3Dept. of Environmental Health, Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Received: 09 June 2010 – Published in Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.: 21 June 2010 Abstract. Particles, climate change, and health have thought-provoking interactions.
Air pollution is one of the largest environmental problems concerning human
health. On the other hand, aerosol particles can have a cooling effect on
climate and a reduction of those emissions may result in an increased
temperature globally, which in turn may have negative health effects. The
objective of this work was to investigate the "total health effects" of
aerosol emissions, which include both exposure to particles and consequences
for climate change initiated by particles. As a case study the "total
health effect" from ship emissions was derived by subtracting the number of
deaths caused by exposure with the estimated number of lives saved from the
cooling effect of the emissions. The analysis showed that, with current
level of scientific understanding, it could not be determined whether ship
emissions are negative or positive for human health on a short time scale.
This first attempt to approximate the combined effect of particle emissions
on health shows that reductions of particulate air pollution will in some
cases (black carbon) have win-win effects on health and climate, but
sometimes also cause a shift from particle exposure-related health effects
towards an increasing risk of health consequences from climate change. Thus,
measures to reduce aerosol emissions have to be coupled with climate change
mitigation actions to achieve a full health benefit on a global level.
Revised: 27 September 2010 – Accepted: 28 September 2010 – Published: 07 October 2010
Citation: Löndahl, J., Swietlicki, E., Lindgren, E., and Loft, S.: Aerosol exposure versus aerosol cooling of climate: what is the optimal emission reduction strategy for human health?, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 9441-9449, doi:10.5194/acp-10-9441-2010, 2010.