A synoptic evaluation of asthma hospital admissions in New York City

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1997 Dec;156(6):1781-8. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.156.6.96-05028.


An evaluation of weather/asthma relationships in the New York City Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA) is developed using a synoptic climatological methodology. This procedure isolates "air masses," or bodies of air that are homogeneous in meteorological character, and relates them to daily counts of overnight asthma hospital admissions. The synoptic procedure used here, known as the temporal synoptic index (TSI), can identify air masses in automated fashion for every day over many years. It is apparent that certain air masses are related to statistically significant increases in asthma hospital admissions. The impact varies seasonally, with weather having a particularly important impact on asthma admissions during fall and winter. It appears that air pollution has little impact on asthma during these two seasons, and the air masses associated with the highest admissions are not distinguished by high concentrations of pollutants. However, during spring and summer, the air masses associated with highest admissions are among those with high pollution concentrations. There is a strong interseasonal differential response to weather and air pollution by asthmatics in New York City. If these results can be replicated at other locations in future studies, it may be possible to develop an asthma/weather watch-warning system, based on the expected arrival of high-admissions air masses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Allergens / analysis
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Meteorological Concepts*
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Pollen
  • Regression Analysis
  • Seasons
  • Temperature


  • Air Pollutants
  • Allergens