Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Summer 2019-2020 Wildfires in East Coast Australia and Their Impacts on Air Quality and Health in New South Wales, Australia

Version 1 : Received: 9 March 2021 / Approved: 9 March 2021 / Online: 9 March 2021 (09:03:10 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Nguyen, H.D.D.; Azzi, M.; White, S.; Salter, D.; Trieu, T.; Morgan, G.; Rahman, M.; Watt, S.; Riley, M.; Chang, L.-C.; Barthelemy, X.; Fuchs, D.; Lieschke, K.; Nguyen, H. The Summer 2019–2020 Wildfires in East Coast Australia and Their Impacts on Air Quality and Health in New South Wales, Australia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 3538. Nguyen, H.D.D.; Azzi, M.; White, S.; Salter, D.; Trieu, T.; Morgan, G.; Rahman, M.; Watt, S.; Riley, M.; Chang, L.-C.; Barthelemy, X.; Fuchs, D.; Lieschke, K.; Nguyen, H. The Summer 2019–2020 Wildfires in East Coast Australia and Their Impacts on Air Quality and Health in New South Wales, Australia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 3538.

Journal reference: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 3538
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18073538

Abstract

The 2019-2020 summer wildfire event on the east coast of Australia was a series of major wildfires occurring from November 2019 to end of January 2020 across the states of Queensland, New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and South Australia. The wildfires were unprecedent in scope and the extensive extend of the wildfires has caused smoke pollutants transported not only to New Zealand but across the Pacific Ocean to South America. At the height of the wildfires, smoke plumes were injected into the stratosphere at height up to 25km and hence transported across the globe. Based on meteorological and air quality simulation using WRF-Chem model, air quality monitoring data collected during the bushfire period and remote sensing data from MODIS and CALIPSO satellites, the extend of the wildfires and the pollutant transport, and their impacts on air quality and health on exposed population in NSW can be analysed. The results showed that WRF-Chem model using Fire Emission Inventory from NCAR (FINN) predicts the dispersion and transport of pollutants and the predicted concentration of PM2.5 and other pollutants from wildfires reasonably well when compared with ground-based and satellite data. The impact on health endpoints such as mortality, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases hospitalisation across the modelling domain is then estimated. The estimated health impact is comparable with previous study based only on observation data, but the results in this study provide much more detailed spatially and temporally with regards to the health impact from the 2019-2020 wildfire.

Keywords

wildfires; summer 2019-2010; WRF-Chem; pollutant transport; air quality effect; health impact

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