A Note on the Assessment of the Effect of Atmospheric Factors and Components on Humans

Author: Andreas Matzarakis

Year: 2020

Published in: Atmosphere

Abstract: The aim of this contribution is both to demonstrate and to explore the general assessment pertaining to the effects of atmospheric factors on human health and general wellbeing. While humans are aware of such effects, particularly individually, their concrete and synergetic effects with the human physiological system are, comparatively, not well comprehended. In human biometeorological studies and approaches, the aforementioned effects are analyzed in terms of their effect pathways, and the development of single or complex approaches. Recurrently in the existing literature, such approaches are mostly defined and, respectively, targeted as indexes. The evaluation and assessment of similar factors and parameters that present related effects were subsequently put together and quantified. This approach is described as ‘effective complexes’ or components. The most well-known examples are the thermal complex, air pollution complex (which can be divided into the biological (pollen) and anthropogenic (air pollutants) factors), actinic complex, and finally, the recent or rapid weather changes complex. Most of the approaches focus on the negative effects consequential to the established criteria ranging from empirical outputs, to epidemiological studies. As a result, the presented approach does not only include the negative effects or implications on humans. Instead, it also highlights the neutral and positive effects which were acknowledged by the research. The approach deals furthermore with the combined effects of different complexes or components and incorporates different weightings of the factors based on the disclosed effects. In addition, seasonal and exposure factors are deliberated upon to differentiate annual variability factors. Finally, the presented approach builds upon a way in which to cogitate how the complex interactions associated to weather and climate can be quantified in a more appropriate way in the context of human health. The approach aims to be applied for a specific weather forecast enabling the communication and balance between human health factors, and also more encompassing climatic analysis.