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Assessing the Impacts of Biomass Burning Events on Emergency Room Visits in Alberta and Ontario, Canada

An increase in wildfires has resulted in a change to the CO seasonal cycle of the North American Pacific Northwest, when comparing 2012-2018 to 2002-2011. This trend was reported using data from the Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite. Similarly, an increase in summertime CO values was identified with the Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer at the University of Toronto Atmospheric Observatory (TAO), over the same time period. Studies have shown correlations between wildfire smoke exposure and healthcare utilization for cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. Monthly counts of Emergency Department admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases for Alberta and Ontario are investigated in relation to wildfire events in Canada and the USA. MOPITT and TAO FTIR CO columns, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) burned area product, and provincial burned areas from Natural Resources Canada are assessed to estimate wildfire smoke exposure in the study region. This work aims to evaluate if CO can be used as a complementary tracer for health impacts from wildfire smoke exposure.

Host: Ramina Alwarda
Event series  Brewer-Wilson Seminar Series