Sunday, January 26, 2014

Alec Bergerson
Edited (February 16)

Loose-coupling an air dispersion model and a geographic information system (GIS) for studying air pollution and asthma in the Bronx, New York City
Air pollution has known effects on human health, especially in densely populated cities where air pollution is a common problem.  Scientists at Lehman College, City University of New York developed a procedure to loosely integrate the air dispersion model, AERMOD, into the geographic information system ArcGIS in an effort to more accurately correlate air pollution and instances of asthma hospitalization in the Bronx.  They developed a quick and efficient way to incorporate these complicated programs by using output data from ArcGIS as input data for AERMOD and then further analyzing the data collected from AERMOD back in the ArcGIS software.

Using this method and incorporating various maps, information on 33 stationary point sources of pollution and hospital information regarding asthma hospitalizations, the researchers were able to find correlations between asthma and pollution.

The emissions data and locations were extracted from the National Emissions Inventory (through the EPA), the data on asthma hospitalizations was collected from the New York State Department of Health, and the populations information was extracted from the US Census. Using all of this data and analyzing it using ArcGIS and the AERMOD dispersion model, correlations were determined between stationary point sources of pollution and asthma. It was found that in the areas closer and more affected by the point sources, asthma hospitalizations were higher than in the areas further away from these sources of pollution.

Research like this is important for determining how high pollution areas can cause detrimental health problems on local residents and can be used when observing socioeconomic inequalities in high density areas.  Additionally, this method of integrating dispersion modeling into GIS could be used for other things, including impact assessment, transportation projects and  more.

Maantay, J. A.,  Tu, J., and Maroko, A. R. (2009). Loose-coupling an air dispersion model and a geographic information system (GIS) for studying air pollution and asthma in the Bronx, New York City. International Journal of Environmental Health Research. 19(1), 59-79. From


  1. This seems to be very interesting especially since it talks about New York City, which is highly populated and causes spread of diseases rapidly. I find it very obvious that this is the city to test when it comes to pollution and it has many other uses when trying to find out about certain issues. Maybe a picture or data sheet would help readers understand the results better, but I enjoyed the reading.

  2. Yeah there were a few images with this article but they didn't seem that useful. However I should have included some of their tables as they listed some interesting data.

  3. This seems like extremely useful knowledge if someone was looking for a new place to live within the city. But what's also interesting to think about is if the pollution exists in these areas because of poverty or if the polluted area is impoverished because of the pollution and those people don't have the money to leave.

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  5. I had an internship with a corporation that utilized AERMOD on a daily basis. Having a command of that plus GIS can make one incredibly employable. The company is international. Check it out -