Aerosol Optical Depth as a Measure of Particulate Exposure Using Imputed Censored Data, and Relationship with Childhood Asthma Hospital Admissions for 2004 in Athens, Greece

Gary Higgs, David A. Sterling, Subhash Aryal, Abhilash Vemulapalli, Kostas N. Priftis, Nicolas I. Sifakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


An understanding of human health implications from atmosphere exposure is a priority in both the geographic and the public health domains. The unique properties of geographic tools for remote sensing of the atmosphere offer a distinct ability to characterize and model aerosols in the urban atmosphere for evaluation of impacts on health. Asthma, as a manifestation of upper respiratory disease prevalence, is a good example of the potential interface of geographic and public health interests. The current study focused on Athens, Greece during the year of 2004 and (1) demonstrates a systemized process for aligning data obtained from satellite aerosol optical depth (AOD) with geographic location and time, (2) evaluates the ability to apply imputation methods to censored data, and (3) explores whether AOD data can be used satisfactorily to investigate the association between AOD and health impacts using an example of hospital admission for childhood asthma. This work demonstrates the ability to apply remote sensing data in the evaluation of health outcomes, that the alignment process for remote sensing data is readily feasible, and that missing data can be imputed with a sufficient degree of reliability to develop complete datasets. Individual variables demonstrated small but significant effect levels on hospital admission of children for AOD, nitrogen oxides (NOx), relative humidity (rH), temperature, smoke, and inversely for ozone. However, when applying a multivari-able model, an association with asthma hospital admissions and air quality could not be demonstrated. This work is promising and will be expanded to include additional years.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Health Insights
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015



  • AOD
  • Aerosol optical depth
  • childhood asthma
  • particulate exposure

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