Comparative assessment of the effects of climate change on heat- and cold-related mortality in the United Kingdom and Australia

Sotiris Vardoulakis*, Keith Dear, Shakoor Hajat, Clare Heaviside, Bernd Eggen, Anthony J. McMichael

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: High and low ambient temperatures are associated with increased mortality in temperate and subtropical climates. Temperature-related mortality patterns are expected to change throughout this century because of climate change. Objectives: We compared mortality associated with heat and cold in UK regions and Australian cities for current and projected climates and populations. Methods: Time-series regression analyses were carried out on daily mortality in relation to ambient temperatures for UK regions and Australian cities to estimate relative risk functions for heat and cold and variations in risk parameters by age. Excess deaths due to heat and cold were estimated for future climates. Results: In UK regions, cold-related mortality currently accounts for more than one order of magnitude more deaths than heat-related mortality (around 61 and 3 deaths per 100,000 population per year, respectively). In Australian cities, approximately 33 and 2 deaths per 100,000 population are associated every year with cold and heat, respectively. Although cold-related mortality is projected to decrease due to climate change to approximately 42 and 19 deaths per 100,000 population per year in UK regions and Australian cities, heat-related mortality is projected to increase to around 9 and 8 deaths per 100,000 population per year, respectively, by the 2080s, assuming no changes in susceptibility and structure of the population. Conclusions: Projected changes in climate are likely to lead to an increase in heat-related mortality in the United Kingdom and Australia over this century, but also to a decrease in cold-related deaths. Future temperature-related mortality will be amplified by aging populations. Health protection from hot weather will become increasingly necessary in both countries, while protection from cold weather will be still needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1285-1292
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Volume122
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Public Health Services, US Dept of Health and Human Services. All rights reserved.

Copyright:
Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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