Autoregressive spatially varying coefficients model for predicting daily PM2.5 using VIIRS satellite AOT
- 1Department of Statistics, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA
- 2Department of Statistical Science, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
- 3National Exposure Research Laboratory, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA
Abstract. There is considerable demand for accurate air quality information in human health analyses. The sparsity of ground monitoring stations across the United States motivates the need for advanced statistical models to predict air quality metrics, such as PM2.5, at unobserved sites. Remote sensing technologies have the potential to expand our knowledge of PM2.5 spatial patterns beyond what we can predict from current PM2.5 monitoring networks. Data from satellites have an additional advantage in not requiring extensive emission inventories necessary for most atmospheric models that have been used in earlier data fusion models for air pollution. Statistical models combining monitoring station data with satellite-obtained aerosol optical thickness (AOT), also referred to as aerosol optical depth (AOD), have been proposed in the literature with varying levels of success in predicting PM2.5. The benefit of using AOT is that satellites provide complete gridded spatial coverage. However, the challenges involved with using it in fusion models are (1) the correlation between the two data sources varies both in time and in space, (2) the data sources are temporally and spatially misaligned, and (3) there is extensive missingness in the monitoring data and also in the satellite data due to cloud cover. We propose a hierarchical autoregressive spatially varying coefficients model to jointly model the two data sources, which addresses the foregoing challenges. Additionally, we offer formal model comparison for competing models in terms of model fit and out of sample prediction of PM2.5. The models are applied to daily observations of PM2.5 and AOT in the summer months of 2013 across the conterminous United States. Most notably, during this time period, we find small in-sample improvement incorporating AOT into our autoregressive model but little out-of-sample predictive improvement.