Beloconi, A; Chrysoulakis, N; Lyapustin, A; Utzinger, J; Vounatsou, P (2018). Bayesian geostatistical modelling of PM10 and PM2.5 surface level concentrations in Europe using high-resolution satellite-derived products. ENVIRONMENT INTERNATIONAL, 121, 57-70.
Air quality monitoring across Europe is mainly based on in situ ground stations, which are too sparse to accurately assess the exposure effects of air pollution for the entire continent. The demand for precise predictive models that estimate gridded geophysical parameters of ambient air at high spatial resolution has rapidly grown. Here, we investigate the potential of satellite-derived products to improve particulate matter (PM) estimates. Bayesian geostatistical models addressing confounding between the spatial distribution of pollutants and remotely sensed predictors were developed to estimate yearly averages of both, fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM10) surface PM concentrations, at 1 km(2) spatial resolution over 46 European countries. Model outcomes were compared to geostatistical, geographically weighted and land-use regression formulations. Rigorous model selection identified the Earth observation data which contribute most to pollutants' estimation. Geostatistical models outperformed the predictive ability of the frequently employed land-use regression. The resulting estimates of PM10, and PM2.5, which represent the main air quality indicators for the urban Sustainable Development Goal, indicate that in 2016, 66.2% of the European population was breathing air above the WHO air quality guidelines thresholds. Our estimates are readily available to policy makers and scientists assessing the effects of long-term exposure to pollution on human and ecosystem health.