On 9 January 2017, Newcastle University hosted a workshop, 'Assessing uncertainty in premature mortality due to degraded air quality', on behalf of the Environmental Statistics Section of the RSS. The meeting attracted an audience of 38 participants, composed of a mix of academics with backgrounds in statistics, public health and the environmental sciences, in addition to representation from the public sector.
The meeting focused on the estimation of mortality for exposure to degraded air pollution, and in particular on the assessment of the uncertainty stemming from epidemiological studies as well as lack of sound hospitalization data in developing countries.
Fintan Hurley (scientific director at the Institute of Occupational Medicine) discussed how the long-term mortality is computed in the UK, and the issues associated with communication of these figures for policy making.
Professor Gavin Shaddick (University of Bath) discussed air pollution monitoring from a global perspective, showing a statistical approach to integrate in situ measurements to satellite retrievals and providing estimates on the global population exposed to degraded air quality, according to the limits imposed by the World Health Organization.
Dr Scott Acher-Nicholls (Cambridge University) focused on atmospheric modelling and discussed the challenges arising when estimating exposure from computer models. He presented two examples, one on the impacts of residential solid fuel burning for cooking and heating purposes in China, and one on forest wildfires in equatorial Asia.