This project will standardise data inputs from all air pollution monitoring stations in Australia and will build a database containing all historical and current observations, such as particulate matter of 2.5 µm (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulphates (SO2), ozone (O3) and ultrafine particles (UFP).

Data will then be used in exposure models that accommodate predictors from chemical transport modelling, satellite, weather and traffic observations and land use and vegetation data to estimate exposures at high spatial and temporal resolution. These exposure data will be combined with age- and cause-specific mortality in sufficiently populated areas.

The harmonised and integrated air pollution and health datasets will help inform policy makers, epidemiologists and public sector agencies.

1 Consolidation and quality control of data from air pollution monitors in Australia
Compiling and curating all historical and current air pollution observations at fixed site monitors that are managed by various state and territory government agencies. To ensure high quality of data, these agencies will perform QA/QC protocols on all air pollution measurements and will provide a continuous flow of quality-controlled air pollution observations into the Centre for Air pollution, energy and health Research Data and Analysis Technology (CARDAT) database.
2 Consolidation of air pollution data with geospatial predictors of pollutant exposure
Collate all air pollution and related geospatial datasets and tools into an online research environment on the national research cloud. Datasets to be curated include satellite based air pollution estimates, chemical transport modelling, position, elevation and distance from the coast, land use, land cover and surface areas of tree cover, water and impervious surfaces, emission sources including landscape fires, roads, wood heaters and point source emissions and population and dwelling density and weather/climate records.
3 Air pollution modelling
The pollution modelling will use data sets for pollutant concentrations, emissions and geographical predictor augmented with near ‘real time’ satellite data to support case scenarios that require near ‘real time’ air pollution mapping.
4 Consolidation of state held mortality data
Clean and disaggregate age-specific mortality data to the local government area or the statistical area 2 level (where age stratified numbers of deaths are sufficient to preclude re-identification) and apply international classification of diseases (ICD) codes with care to optimise the balance of privacy and utility. These data will be updated annually into the integrated AP and health database.

Core features

National database of high-quality Air Pollution (AP) data
Measurements from monitoring stations across the country will be consolidated and cleaned into a complete database of all measurements ever taken from currently operating monitoring stations in Australia.
Mortality data
Monthly age specific mortality at the local government area level and annual mortality from the National Mortality Database (NMD) will be included with corresponding air pollution estimates in the CARDAT database.
Easy data sharing and reproducible data analysis
Access to these combined AP and mortality datasets will be improved using the Centre for Air pollution, energy and health Research Data Analysis Technology (CARDAT) which enables collaboration between researchers and policy makers.

Who is this project for?

  • Researchers
  • Research organisations
  • Public sector agencies
  • Government (state and commonwealth)
  • Polluting industries

What does this project enable?

With access to linked pollution and health data sets, polluting mining and industrial operations will be able to estimate the health impacts of their activities under various pollution mitigation scenarios. The proposed data asset will be made available to all relevant industries so that they can be informed about the cost benefits of emissions reductions. Government agencies are required to regulate emissions from industry and weigh these against  economic development and the social benefits of employment and productivity. We recently demonstrated that anthropogenic PM2.5 results in about 2600 premature deaths annually among all Australians, with a life expectancy cost of $6.1 billion based on the value of a statistical life year. These linked data sets will facilitate such calculations  at all spatial scales in Australia, providing clear and abundant evidence for government policies regarding the  economy and the environment. Socially, the evidence from the use of these data by public and research  organisations will promote a widespread understanding of the health risks of continued intensive use of motor  vehicles, notwithstanding the environmental risks.

Handy resources

University of SydneyVisit
NSW Department of Planning Infrastructure and EnvironmentVisit
Environmental Protection Authority VictoriaVisit
Australian Institute of Health and WelfareVisit
University of QueenslandVisit
Monash UniversityVisit