Combined impacts of climate and air pollution on human health and agricultural productivity

Jana Sillmann*, Kristin Aunan, Lisa Emberson, Patrick Büker, Bob Van Oort, Connie O'Neill, Noelia Otero, Divya Pandey, Anouk Brisebois

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Climate change and air pollution can interact to amplify risks to human health and crop production. This has significant implications for our ability to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (e.g. SDGs 2, 3, 13, 15) and for the design of effective mitigation and adaptation policies and risk management. To be able to achieve the SDG targets, closer integration of climate change and air pollution both in terms of impact assessment for human health and agricultural productivity and respective policy development is needed. Currently, studies estimating the impacts of climate and air pollutants on human health and crops mostly treat these stressors separately, and the methods used by the health and agricultural science communities differ. Better insights into the methods applied in the different communities can help to improve existing and develop new methods to advance our knowledge about the combined impacts of climate change and air pollution on human health and crops. This topical review provides an overview of current methodologies applied in the two fields of human health and agricultural crop impact studies, ranging from empirical regression-based and experimental methods to more complex process-based models. The latter are reasonably well developed for estimating impacts on agricultural crops, but not for health impacts. We review available literature addressing the combined effects of climate and air pollution on human health or agricultural productivity to provide insights regarding state-of-the-art knowledge and currently available methods in the two fields. Challenges to assess the combined effect of climate and air pollution on human health and crops, and opportunities for both fields to learn from each other, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number093004
Number of pages35
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Author(s).


  • agriculture
  • air pollution
  • climate
  • health
  • impacts
  • modeling
  • risk assessment

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