Canadian Journal of Statistics

Multivariate spatial interpolation and exposure to air pollutants

Journal Article


We develop and apply an approach to the spatial interpolation of a vector‐valued random response field. The Bayesian approach we adopt enables uncertainty about the underlying models to be représentés in expressing the accuracy of the resulting interpolants. The methodology is particularly relevant in environmetrics, where vector‐valued responses are only observed at designated sites at successive time points. The theory allows space‐time modelling at the second level of the hierarchical prior model so that uncertainty about the model parameters has been fully expressed at the first level. In this way, we avoid unduly optimistic estimates of inferential accuracy. Moreover, the prior model can be upgraded with any available new data, while past data can be used in a systematic way to fit model parameters. The theory is based on the multivariate normal and related joint distributions. Our hierarchical prior models lead to posterior distributions which are robust with respect to the choice of the prior (hyperparameters). We illustrate our theory with an example involving monitoring stations in southern Ontario, where monthly average levels of ozone, sulphate, and nitrate are available and between‐station response triplets are interpolated. In this example we use a recently developed method for interpolating spatial correlation fields.

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