Assessing temporally and spatially resolved PM2.5 exposures for epidemiological studies using satellite aerosol optical depth measurements

Itai Kloog, Petros Koutrakis, Brent A. Coull, Hyung Joo Lee, Joel Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

306 Scopus citations


Land use regression (LUR) models provide good estimates of spatially resolved long-term exposures, but are poor at capturing short term exposures. Satellite-derived Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) measurements have the potential to provide spatio-temporally resolved predictions of both long and short term exposures, but previous studies have generally showed relatively low predictive power. Our objective was to extend our previous work on day-specific calibrations of AOD data using ground PM2.5 measurements by incorporating commonly used LUR variables and meteorological variables, thus benefiting from both the spatial resolution from the LUR models and the spatio-temporal resolution from the satellite models. Later we use spatial smoothing to predict PM2.5 concentrations for day/locations with missing AOD measures. We used mixed models with random slopes for day to calibrate AOD data for 2000-2008 across New-England with monitored PM2.5 measurements. We then used a generalized additive mixed model with spatial smoothing to estimate PM2.5 in location-day pairs with missing AOD, using regional measured PM2.5, AOD values in neighboring cells, and land use. Finally, local (100 m) land use terms were used to model the difference between grid cell prediction and monitored value to capture very local traffic particles. Out-of-sample ten-fold cross-validation was used to quantify the accuracy of our predictions. For days with available AOD data we found high out-of-sample R2 (mean out-of-sample R2 = 0.830, year to year variation 0.725-0.904). For days without AOD values, our model performance was also excellent (mean out-of-sample R2 = 0.810, year to year variation 0.692-0.887). Importantly, these R2 are for daily, rather than monthly or yearly, values. Our model allows one to assess short term and long-term human exposures in order to investigate both the acute and chronic effects of ambient particles, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6267-6275
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number35
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Aerosol optical depth
  • Air pollution
  • Epidemiology
  • Exposure error
  • PM


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