The main aim of the project is the characterization of the mechanisms that produce adverse health effects over the Madrid metropolitan area population due to the exposition of atmospheric pollutants during the events of long-range transport of African mineral dust, which frequency and intensity are expected to increase as results of climate change.

Specific objectives:

  1. Identify the impact of transport events of African dust of different intensity over the atmospheric pollution concentrations to which the Madrid population is exposed to. If an increase in particles levels is registered, it would be an indicator that an apportionment from external sources, African mineral dust, to those emissions provided by local sources. If an increase in gas pollutants, such as SO2 and NOx usually related to emissions from local anthropogenic sources in urban environments, is also registered, it would be an indicator that these type of extreme events favor the accumulation of atmospheric pollutants on surface by an atmospheric mechanism to be determined.
  2. A second objective of the project will be the identification of synergies between the transport events of African dust of different intensity and the mortality levels by different causes in Madrid. It is assumed as tentative hypothesis the possible increase of mortality relative risk depending on the intensity of transport events of African dust. It will imply the fact that during the occurrence of these extreme atmospheric events, the toxicity of the atmospheric pollutants to which the population is exposed to, may increase. The identification of a positive synergy between the atmospheric pollutants levels to which the Madrid population is exposed to, and the occurrence of transport events of African mineral dust, would be an indicator that due to climate change, the adverse health effects in south European urban areas may increase.
  3. The third foreseen objective will be the planning and development of broadcasting and dissemination activities of the obtained results that allow the proposal of measures to protect human health, during the occurrence of transport episodes of African dust. Among the dissemination activities, it is foreseen the distribution of relevant results of the project in air quality and climate change websites, attendance to congresses and specialist meetings and preparation and publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals. In the last stage of the project, the organization of an informative meeting about "the impact on health of extreme atmospheric events exacerbated by climate change", is foreseen. It will take place in the CIEMAT premises and it will last 1 day.