China has made impressive progress improving its air quality over the last decade. These changes have likely been spurred by environmental regulations. Future regulatory actions will benefit from a detailed accounting of the emissions, air quality, and health benefits directly attributable to existing regulations.
Annual average PM2.5 concentration in Beijing. In work funded by the Health Effects Institute, I will work with an international, cross-disciplinary team to directly quantify benefits of environmental regulations targeting autmoboiles, power plants, and more.
In my current position, I address questions of air quality accountability using wide ranging data sources and innovative analytical tools. I’m working with fellow Harvard researchers to develop and expand methods that link power plants to people who are exposed to their emissions. The model we’ve developed, HyADS, uses the HYSPLIT trajectory model to track emissions from hundred of sources and quantify contributions of these sources to people living in ZIP codes throughout the country.
As part of my PhD research, I investigated changes in air quality and source-specific emissions across the Southeast. I employed several data sources—such as observed and modeled air quality and emissions—and analytical tools—including both statistical and deterministic modeling. For instance, I showed how emissions at power plants in the Southeast decreased differently with different regulations: These emissions changes (almost 90% at power plants since the mid-1990s) combined with other major emissions changes (from cars, for instance) led to big changes in the air quality in the Southeast.