Classifying heatwaves: Developing health-based models to predict high-mortality versus moderate United States heatwaves.
ABSTRACT: Heatwaves are divided between moderate, more common heatwaves and rare "high-mortality" heatwaves that have extremely large health effects per day, which we define as heatwaves with a 20% or higher increase in mortality risk. Better projections of the expected frequency of and exposure to these separate types of heatwaves could help communities optimize heat mitigation and response plans and gauge the potential benefits of limiting climate change. Whether a heatwave is high-mortality or moderate could depend on multiple heatwave characteristics, including intensity, length, and timing. We created heatwave classification models using a heatwave training dataset created using recent (1987-2005) health and weather data from 82 large US urban communities. We built twenty potential classification models and used Monte Carlo cross-validations to evaluate these models. We ultimately identified several models that can adequately classify high-mortality heatwaves. These models can be used to project future trends in high-mortality heatwaves under different scenarios of a changing future (e.g., climate change, population change). Further, these models are novel in the way they allow exploration of different scenarios of adaptation to heat, as they include, as predictive variables, heatwave characteristics that are measured relative to a community's temperature distribution, allowing different adaptation scenarios to be explored by selecting alternative community temperature distributions. The three selected models have been placed on GitHub for use by other researchers, and we use them in a companion paper to project trends in high-mortality heatwaves under different climate, population, and adaptation scenarios.
Project description:Some rare heatwaves have extreme daily mortality impacts; moderate heatwaves have lower daily impacts but occur much more frequently at present and so account for large aggregated impacts. We applied health-based models to project trends in high-mortality heatwaves, including proportion of all heatwaves expected to be high-mortality, using the definition that a high-mortality heatwave increases mortality risk by ?20 %. We projected these trends in 82 US communities in 2061-2080 under two scenarios of climate change (RCP4.5, RCP8.5), two scenarios of population change (SSP3, SSP5), and three scenarios of community adaptation to heat (none, lagged, on-pace) for large- and medium-ensemble versions of the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Community Earth System Model. More high-mortality heatwaves were expected compared to present under all scenarios except on-pace adaptation, and population exposure was expected to increase under all scenarios. At least seven more high-mortality heatwaves were expected in a twenty-year period in the 82 study communities under RCP8.5 than RCP4.5 when assuming no adaptation. However, high-mortality heatwaves were expected to remain <1 % of all heatwaves and heatwave exposure under all scenarios. Projections were most strongly influenced by the adaptation scenario- going from a scenario of on-pace to lagged adaptation or from lagged to no adaptation more than doubled the projected number of and exposure to high-mortality heatwaves. Based on our results, fewer high-mortality heatwaves are expected when following RCP4.5 versus RCP8.5 and under higher levels of adaptation, but high-mortality heatwaves are expected to remain a very small proportion of total heatwave exposure.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Heatwaves are a critical public health problem. There will be an increase in the frequency and severity of heatwaves under changing climate. However, evidence about the impacts of climate change on heatwave-related mortality at a global scale is limited.<h4>Methods and findings</h4>We collected historical daily time series of mean temperature and mortality for all causes or nonexternal causes, in periods ranging from January 1, 1984, to December 31, 2015, in 412 communities within 20 countries/regions. We estimated heatwave-mortality associations through a two-stage time series design. Current and future daily mean temperature series were projected under four scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions from 1971-2099, with five general circulation models. We projected excess mortality in relation to heatwaves in the future under each scenario of greenhouse gas emissions, with two assumptions for adaptation (no adaptation and hypothetical adaptation) and three scenarios of population change (high variant, median variant, and low variant). Results show that, if there is no adaptation, heatwave-related excess mortality is expected to increase the most in tropical and subtropical countries/regions (close to the equator), while European countries and the United States will have smaller percent increases in heatwave-related excess mortality. The higher the population variant and the greenhouse gas emissions, the higher the increase of heatwave-related excess mortality in the future. The changes in 2031-2080 compared with 1971-2020 range from approximately 2,000% in Colombia to 150% in Moldova under the highest emission scenario and high-variant population scenario, without any adaptation. If we considered hypothetical adaptation to future climate, under high-variant population scenario and all scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions, the heatwave-related excess mortality is expected to still increase across all the countries/regions except Moldova and Japan. However, the increase would be much smaller than the no adaptation scenario. The simple assumptions with respect to adaptation as follows: no adaptation and hypothetical adaptation results in some uncertainties of projections.<h4>Conclusions</h4>This study provides a comprehensive characterisation of future heatwave-related excess mortality across various regions and under alternative scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions, different assumptions of adaptation, and different scenarios of population change. The projections can help decision makers in planning adaptation and mitigation strategies for climate change.
Project description:Different locations and study periods were used in the assessment of the relationships between heatwaves and mortality. However, little is known about the comparability and consistency of the previous effect estimates in the literature. This study assessed the heatwave-mortality relationship using different study periods in the three largest Australian cities (Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney).Daily data on climatic variables and mortality for the three cities were obtained from relevant government agencies between 1988 and 2011. A consistent definition of heatwaves was used for these cities. Poisson generalised additive model was fitted to assess the impact of heatwaves on mortality.Non-accidental and circulatory mortality significantly increased during heatwaves across the three cities even with different heatwave definitions and study periods. Using the summer data resulted in the largest increase in effect estimates compared to those using the warm season or the whole year data.The findings may have implications for developing standard approaches to evaluating the heatwave-mortality relationship and advancing heat health warning systems. It also provides an impetus to methodological advance for assessing climate change-related health consequences.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Heat-related impacts may have greater public health implications as climate change continues. It is important to appropriately characterize the relationship between heatwave and health outcomes. However, it is unclear whether a case-crossover design can be effectively used to assess the event- or episode-related health effects. This study examined the association between exposure to heatwaves and mortality and emergency hospital admissions (EHAs) from non-external causes in Brisbane, Australia, using both case-crossover and time series analyses approaches. METHODS: Poisson generalised additive model (GAM) and time-stratified case-crossover analyses were used to assess the short-term impact of heatwaves on mortality and EHAs. Heatwaves exhibited a significant impact on mortality and EHAs after adjusting for air pollution, day of the week, and season. RESULTS: For time-stratified case-crossover analysis, odds ratios of mortality and EHAs during heatwaves were 1.62 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.36-1.94) and 1.22 (95% CI: 1.14-1.30) at lag 1, respectively. Time series GAM models gave similar results. Relative risks of mortality and EHAs ranged from 1.72 (95% CI: 1.40-2.11) to 1.81 (95% CI: 1.56-2.10) and from 1.14 (95% CI: 1.06-1.23) to 1.28 (95% CI: 1.21-1.36) at lag 1, respectively. The risk estimates gradually attenuated after the lag of one day for both case-crossover and time series analyses. CONCLUSIONS: The risk estimates from both case-crossover and time series models were consistent and comparable. This finding may have implications for future research on the assessment of event- or episode-related (e.g., heatwave) health effects.
Project description:Climate change is affecting biodiversity, but proximate drivers remain poorly understood. Here, we examine how experimental heatwaves impact on reproduction in an insect system. Male sensitivity to heat is recognised in endotherms, but ectotherms have received limited attention, despite comprising most of biodiversity and being more influenced by temperature variation. Using a flour beetle model system, we find that heatwave conditions (5 to 7?°C above optimum for 5 days) damaged male, but not female, reproduction. Heatwaves reduce male fertility and sperm competitiveness, and successive heatwaves almost sterilise males. Heatwaves reduce sperm production, viability, and migration through the female. Inseminated sperm in female storage are also damaged by heatwaves. Finally, we discover transgenerational impacts, with reduced reproductive potential and lifespan of offspring when fathered by males, or sperm, that had experienced heatwaves. This male reproductive damage under heatwave conditions provides one potential driver behind biodiversity declines and contractions through global warming.
Project description:Background: There is a lack of knowledge concerning the effects of ambient heat exposure on morbidity in Northern Europe. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the relationships of daily summertime temperature and heatwaves with cardiorespiratory hospital admissions in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland. Methods: Time series models adjusted for potential confounders, such as air pollution, were used to investigate the associations of daily temperature and heatwaves with cause-specific cardiorespiratory hospital admissions during summer months of 2001-2017. Daily number of hospitalizations was obtained from the national hospital discharge register and weather information from the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Results: Increased daily temperature was associated with a decreased risk of total respiratory hospital admissions and asthma. Heatwave days were associated with 20.5% (95% CI: 6.9, 35.9) increased risk of pneumonia admissions and during long or intense heatwaves also with total respiratory admissions in the oldest age group (?75 years). There were also suggestive positive associations between heatwave days and admissions due to myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular diseases. In contrast, risk of arrhythmia admissions decreased 20.8% (95% CI: 8.0, 31.8) during heatwaves. Conclusions: Heatwaves, rather than single hot days, are a health threat affecting morbidity even in a Northern climate.
Project description:Extreme climatic events, such as heatwaves, are predicted to be more prevalent in future due to global climate change. The devastating impacts of heatwaves on the survival of marine organisms may be further intensified by ocean acidification. Here, we tested the hypothesis that prolonged exposure to heatwave temperatures (24?°C, +3?°C summer seawater temperature) would diminish energy budget, body condition and ultimately survival of a subtidal gastropod (Thalotia conica) by pushing close to its critical thermal maximum (CT<sub>max</sub>). We also tested whether ocean acidification (pCO<sub>2</sub>: 1000 ppm) affects energy budget, CT<sub>max</sub> and hence survival of this gastropod. Following the 8-week experimental period, mortality was markedly higher at 24?°C irrespective of pCO<sub>2</sub> level, probably attributed to energy deficit (negative scope for growth) and concomitant depletion of energy reserves (reduced organ weight to flesh weight ratio). CT<sub>max</sub> of T. conica appeared at 27?°C and was unaffected by ocean acidification. Our findings imply that prolonged exposure to heatwaves can compromise the survival of marine organisms below CT<sub>max</sub> via disruption in energy homeostasis, which possibly explains their mass mortality in the past heatwave events. Therefore, heatwaves would have more profound effects than ocean acidification on future marine ecosystems.
Project description:India suffers from major heatwaves during March-June. The rising trend of number of intense heatwaves in recent decades has been vaguely attributed to global warming. Since the heat waves have a serious effect on human mortality, root causes of these heatwaves need to be clarified. Based on the observed patterns and statistical analyses of the maximum temperature variability, we identified two types of heatwaves. The first-type of heatwave over the north-central India is found to be associated with blocking over the North Atlantic. The blocking over North Atlantic results in a cyclonic anomaly west of North Africa at upper levels. The stretching of vorticity generates a Rossby wave source of anomalous Rossby waves near the entrance of the African Jet. The resulting quasi-stationary Rossby wave-train along the Jet has a positive phase over Indian subcontinent causing anomalous sinking motion and thereby heatwave conditions over India. On the other hand, the second-type of heatwave over the coastal eastern India is found to be due to the anomalous Matsuno-Gill response to the anomalous cooling in the Pacific. The Matsuno-Gill response is such that it generates northwesterly anomalies over the landmass reducing the land-sea breeze, resulting in heatwaves.
Project description:Background: Previous studies have shown that heatwaves are associated with increased mortality. However, it remains unclear whether the associations between heatwaves and mortality are modified by the environmental quality. Methods: We used the United States (US) Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Quality Index (EQI) and its five domain indices (air, water, land, built, and sociodemographic) to represent the cumulative environmental quality. We applied a time-stratified case-crossover design to analyze the disparities in the association between heatwaves and non-accidental deaths (NAD) among counties with different environmental qualities, in metropolitan areas in Alabama (AL), United States. Results: We found significant associations between heatwaves and NAD and a significant effect modification of this relationship by EQI. There were higher odds ratios in counties with the worst cumulative environmental qualities compared to counties with the best cumulative environmental qualities. For example, the percent change in odds ratio (mean and (95% CI)) between heatwave days and non-heatwave days was -10.3% (-26.6, 9.6) in counties with an overall EQI of 1 (the best overall environment) and 13.2% (4.9, 22.2) in counties with an overall EQI of 3 (the worst overall environment). Among the five domains, air quality had the strongest effect modification on the association. Conclusion: Our findings provide evidence that the associations between heatwaves and NAD vary among areas with different environmental qualities. These findings suggest that integration of air quality and heatwave warning systems may provide greater protection to public health.
Project description:Heatwaves have increased in intensity, frequency and duration, with these trends projected to worsen under enhanced global warming. Understanding regional heatwave trends has critical implications for the biophysical and human systems they impact. Until now a comprehensive assessment of regional observed changes was hindered by the range of metrics employed, underpinning datasets, and time periods examined. Here, using the Berkeley Earth temperature dataset and key heatwave metrics, we systematically examine regional and global observed heatwave trends. In almost all regions, heatwave frequency demonstrates the most rapid and significant change. A measure of cumulative heat shows significant increases almost everywhere since the 1950s, mainly driven by heatwave days. Trends in heatwave frequency, duration and cumulative heat have accelerated since the 1950s, and due to the high influence of variability we recommend regional trends are assessed over multiple decades. Our results provide comparable regional observed heatwave trends, on spatial and temporal scales necessary for understanding impacts.