Future global mortality from changes in air pollution attributable to climate change

Raquel A. Silva, J. Jason West, Jean-Francois Lamarque, Drew T. Shindell, William J. Collins, Greg Faluvegi, G. A. Folberth, Larry W. Horowitz, Tatsuya Nagashima, Vaishali Naik, Steven T. Rumbold, Kengo Sudo, Toshihiko Takemura, Daniel Bergmann, Philip Cameron-smith, Ruth Doherty, Beatrice Josse, Ian MacKenzie, David Stevenson, Guang Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) are associated with premature human mortality1, 2, 3, 4; their future concentrations depend on changes in emissions, which dominate the near-term5, and on climate change6, 7. Previous global studies of the air-quality-related health effects of future climate change8, 9 used single atmospheric models. However, in related studies, mortality results differ among models10, 11, 12. Here we use an ensemble of global chemistry–climate models13 to show that premature mortality from changes in air pollution attributable to climate change, under the high greenhouse gas scenario RCP8.5 (ref. 14), is probably positive. We estimate 3,340 (−30,300 to 47,100) ozone-related deaths in 2030, relative to 2000 climate, and 43,600 (−195,000 to 237,000) in 2100 (14% of the increase in global ozone-related mortality). For PM 2.5, we estimate 55,600 (−34,300 to 164,000) deaths in 2030 and 215,000 (−76,100 to 595,000) in 2100 (countering by 16% the global decrease in PM 2.5-related mortality). Premature mortality attributable to climate change is estimated to be positive in all regions except Africa, and is greatest in India and East Asia. Most individual models yield increased mortality from climate change, but some yield decreases, suggesting caution in interpreting results from a single model. Climate change mitigation is likely to reduce air-pollution-related mortality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Climate Change
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2017


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