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Environmental Health

, 10:49

First Online: 24 May 2011Received: 14 January 2011Accepted: 24 May 2011DOI: 10.1186-1476-069X-10-49

Cite this article as: Hanna, A.F., Yeatts, K.B., Xiu, A. et al. Environ Health 2011 10: 49. doi:10.1186-1476-069X-10-49


BackgroundSynoptic circulation patterns large-scale tropospheric motion systems affect air pollution and, potentially, air-pollution-morbidity associations. We evaluated the effect of synoptic circulation patterns air masses on the association between ozone and hospital admissions for asthma and myocardial infarction MI among adults in North Carolina.

MethodsDaily surface meteorology data including precipitation, wind speed, and dew point for five selected cities in North Carolina were obtained from the U.S. EPA Air Quality System AQS, which were in turn based on data from the National Climatic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. We used the Spatial Synoptic Classification system to classify each day of the 9-year period from 1996 through 2004 into one of seven different air mass types: dry polar, dry moderate, dry tropical, moist polar, moist moderate, moist tropical, or transitional. Daily 24-hour maximum 1-hour ambient concentrations of ozone were obtained from the AQS. Asthma and MI hospital admissions data for the 9-year period were obtained from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Generalized linear models were used to assess the association of the hospitalizations with ozone concentrations and specific air mass types, using pollutant lags of 0 to 5 days. We examined the effect across cities on days with the same air mass type. In all models we adjusted for dew point and day-of-the-week effects related to hospital admissions.

ResultsOzone was associated with asthma under dry tropical 1- to 5-day lags, transitional 3- and 4-day lags, and extreme moist tropical 0-day lag air masses. Ozone was associated with MI only under the extreme moist tropical 5-day lag air masses.

ConclusionsElevated ozone levels are associated with dry tropical, dry moderate, and moist tropical air masses, with the highest ozone levels being associated with the dry tropical air mass. Certain synoptic circulation patterns-air masses in conjunction with ambient ozone levels were associated with increased asthma and MI hospitalizations.

List of abbreviationsDMdry moderate

DPdry polar

DTdry tropical

GLMgeneralized linear model

MImyocardial infarction

MMmoist moderate

MPmoist polar

MTmoist tropical its extremes are MT+ and MT++

PAMthe marginal probability of the appearance of a certain air mass

PAM|O3the conditional probability of the appearance of a certain air mass given a day with ozone concentration above a certain level

PO3the marginal probability of finding ozone concentration above a given level

PO3|AMthe conditional probability of the ozone concentration being above a certain level given that a day is governed by a certain air mass

SSCSpatial Synoptic Classification


Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1476-069X-10-49 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Adel F Hanna - Karin B Yeatts - Aijun Xiu - Zhengyuan Zhu - Richard L Smith - Neil N Davis - Kevin D Talgo - Gurmeet 


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