Health Impacts Quantification for Aviation Air Quality Tools

Project Number: 018
Category: Emissions

This purpose of this project is to evaluate the contribution of aviation sources to ultrafine particulate matter (UFP) and other air pollutant concentrations in communities surrounding an airport. In this study, UFP and other pollutants are measured at high temporal resolution at multiple sites concurrently, with sites selected specifically for the purpose of aircraft source attribution. Detailed flight activity tracks and meteorological data are used as predictors of measured concentrations, using statistical methods that allow for the aviation signal to be separated from other sources of air pollution.

Monitoring sites were chosen directly underneath a major arrival flight path to Boston Logan International Airport, as well as at sites at varying lateral distances from the flight path, to allow for a formal evaluation of the magnitude of aviation contributions over a large spatial domain.

In addition to the ongoing field campaign and related statistical analyses, researchers on Project 18 work on collaborative efforts with Projects 19 and 20 to model the public health impacts of aviation emissions at national and global scales.

Last Updated 7/19/2023


  • Statistical methods to determine aviation source contributions to measured air pollution concentrations
  • Estimates of the magnitude and spatial extent of aviation source concentrations to air pollution exposures in communities near airports
  • NAS-wide and airport-specific air pollution-related public health impacts


  • S. Penn, S. Arunachalam, S. Boone, E. Kamai, J. Levy. Modeling variability in air pollution-related health damages from individual airport emissions. International Society of Exposure Science Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, OH, October 2014.
  • S. Boone, S. Penn, J. Levy, S. Arunachalam. Calculation of sensitivity coefficients using CMAQ-DDM for individual airport emissions in the United States. ITM 2015, Montpellier, France, May 2015.
  • Boone, S., S. Arunachalam, S. Penn and J. Levy (2014). Sensitivity analysis of individual airport emissions in the U.S. using CMAQ DDM-3D, Presented at the 13th Annual CMAS Conference, Chapel Hill, NC, October 27 – 29, 2014.
  • Underhill LJ, Penn SL, Boone S, Arunachalam S, Woo M, Levy JI. A comparative analysis of health damage functions across pollutants, source sectors, and geographic locations. Presented at the International Society for Exposure Science Annual Meeting, Utrecht, Netherlands, October 2016.
  • Kim CS, Tripodis Y, Levy JI. Magnitude and spatial patterns of ultrafine particulate matter associated with aircraft arrivals near Boston Logan Airport. Presented at the International Society for Exposure Science Annual Meeting, Utrecht, Netherlands, October 2016.
  • C. Kim, K. Lane, J. Levy. The impact of aviation emissions on ultrafine particulate matter concentrations in communities at varying distances from flight paths. International Society of Exposure Science Annual Meeting, Research Triangle Park, NC, October 2017.

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