Data Integration Model for Air Quality: A Hierarchical Approach to the Global Estimation of Exposures to Ambient Air Pollution

Gavin Shaddick, Matthew L. Thomas, Amelia Jobling, Michael Brauer, Aaron van Donkelaar, Rick Burnett, Howard Chang, Aaron Cohen, Rita Van Dingenen, Carlos Dora, Sophie Gumy, Yang Liu, Randall Martin, Lance A. Waller, Jason West, James V. Zidek, Annette Prüss-Ustün

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Citations (SciVal)


Air pollution is a major risk factor for global health, with 3 million deaths annually being attributed to fine particulate matter ambient pollution (PM 2.5). The primary source of information for estimating population exposures to air pollution has been measurements from ground monitoring networks but, although coverage is increasing, regions remain in which monitoring is limited. The data integration model for air quality supplements ground monitoring data with information from other sources, such as satellite retrievals of aerosol optical depth and chemical transport models. Set within a Bayesian hierarchical modelling framework, the model allows spatially varying relationships between ground measurements and other factors that estimate air quality. The model is used to estimate exposures, together with associated measures of uncertainty, on a high resolution grid covering the entire world from which it is estimated that 92% of the world's population reside in areas exceeding the World Health Organization's air quality guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231–253
Number of pages23
JournalRoyal Statistical Society Series C (Applied Statistics)
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Air pollution
  • Bayesian hierarchical modelling
  • Data fusion
  • Environmental health effects
  • Global burden of disease
  • Integrated nested Laplace approximations
  • Spatial modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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