Special session: Climate Change and Human Health

Climate Change and Human Health

You are kindly invited to contribute to the special session on the impacts of climate change, air pollution, and human health" with oral or poster presentations. Please select topic "Special Session – Climate Change and Human Health" when submitting your abstract to the Air Quality – Science and Application conference 14-18 March 2016 in Milan, Italy.

Session Chair: Petros Koutrakis, Professor of Environmental Sciences, Harvard University, Boston, USA 

Co-Chair: Massimo Stafoggia, Senior Epidemiologist/Biostatistician, Department of Epidemiology, Lazio Region Health Service, Rome, Italy


Climate change will influence many environmental parameters that adversely affect human health both directly and indirectly.

Direct effects: Persistent extreme episodes of high temperatures and humidity have been linked to human adverse health effects since long time ago.  However, recent studies suggest that moderately high or low temperature conditions are also important.  It is important to note that diverse exposure metrics have been found to be associated with adverse effects.  For example, average or maximum temperature (T), daily maximum minus minimum (∆T), and day-to-day variability among others; currently, researchers seek to understand the effects of temperature in the presence of air pollutants and vice versa.

Indirect effects: Climate change will result in increase in the duration of human exposures to air pollutants, impacting both human mortality and morbidity. Few examples of these pollutants include: i) atmospheric oxidants, such as ozone and organic radicals, due to the increase in biogenic emissions and oxidative potential of the atmosphere; ii) forest fire smoke, characterized by high levels of elemental and organic carbon, due to soil dryness and tree decay; iii) desert dust particles, due to the increase in the frequency and magnitude of dust storms; and iv) biological aerosols, such as pollen, due to the prolongation of plant growth seasons. Furthermore, in some parts of the world, where surface winds and/or precipitation will be reduced, air pollution levels below the planetary bounder layer will increase independently of changes in air pollution emissions. This can decrease the effectiveness of air pollution control strategies.  Finally, weather changes will influence the way we heat and cool indoor environments so they will have a pronounced impact not only on energy consumption but also on human exposures to indoor air pollutants.

List of topics relevant to this special session:

  • Effects of different temperature exposure metrics on mortality and morbidity;
  • Oxidizing and assimilative capacity of the atmosphere impacting on air pollution;
  • Effects of climate change on increased exposures to dust storms, wildfires, and atmospheric oxidants, and biological aerosols and their health effects;
  • Impact of global warming on indoor air quality and human health;
  • Impact of climate change on mitigation strategies to reduce air pollution and improve human health;

The session is open to all contributions related to the topics indicated above. All submitted abstracts will be peer reviewed according to the normal procedures of this conference.  Also, a special issue of the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (JA&WMA) will be created for papers presented at this special session.  Authors are encouraged to submit their manuscript to JA&WMA by selecting “MilanAQ2016” for the manuscript type before May 31, 2016 so this special issue could be published in early 2017.