A new look at weather-related health impacts through functional regression.
ABSTRACT: A major challenge of climate change adaptation is to assess the effect of changing weather on human health. In spite of an increasing literature on the weather-related health subject, many aspect of the relationship are not known, limiting the predictive power of epidemiologic models. The present paper proposes new models to improve the performances of the currently used ones. The proposed models are based on functional data analysis (FDA), a statistical framework dealing with continuous curves instead of scalar time series. The models are applied to the temperature-related cardiovascular mortality issue in Montreal. By making use of the whole information available, the proposed models improve the prediction of cardiovascular mortality according to temperature. In addition, results shed new lights on the relationship by quantifying physiological adaptation effects. These results, not found with classical model, illustrate the potential of FDA approaches.
Project description:Random fluctuations in temperature and precipitation have substantial impacts on agricultural output. However, the contribution of these changing configurations in weather to total factor productivity (TFP) growth has not been addressed explicitly in econometric analyses. Thus, the key objective of this study is to quantify and to investigate the role of changing weather patterns in explaining yearly fluctuations in TFP. For this purpose, we define TFP to be a measure of total output divided by a measure of total input. We estimate a stochastic production frontier model using U.S. state-level agricultural data incorporating growing season temperature and precipitation, and intra-annual standard deviations of temperature and precipitation for the period 1960-2004. We use the estimated parameters of the model to compute a TFP index that has good axiomatic properties. We then decompose TFP growth in each state into weather effects, technological progress, technical efficiency, and scale-mix efficiency changes. This approach improves our understanding of the role of different components of TFP in agricultural productivity growth. We find that annual TFP growth averaged 1.56% between 1960 and 2004. Moreover, we observe substantial heterogeneity in weather effects across states and over time.
Project description:Epidemics are often triggered by specific weather patterns favouring the pathogen on susceptible hosts. For plant diseases, models predicting epidemics have therefore often emphasized the identification of early season weather patterns that are correlated with a disease outcome at some later point. Toward that end, window-pane analysis is an exhaustive search algorithm traditionally used in plant pathology for mining correlations in a weather series with respect to a disease endpoint. Here we show, with reference to Fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat, that a functional approach is a more principled analytical method for understanding the relationship between disease epidemics and environmental conditions over an extended time series. We used scalar-on-function regression to model a binary outcome (FHB epidemic or non-epidemic) relative to weather time series spanning 140 days relative to flowering (when FHB infection primarily occurs). The functional models overall fit the data better than previously described standard logistic regression (lr) models. Periods much earlier than heretofore realized were associated with FHB epidemics. The findings were used to create novel weather summary variables which, when incorporated into lr models, yielded a new set of models that performed as well as existing lr models for real-time predictions of disease risk. This article is part of the theme issue 'Modelling infectious disease outbreaks in humans, animals and plants: approaches and important themes'. This issue is linked with the subsequent theme issue 'Modelling infectious disease outbreaks in humans, animals and plants: epidemic forecasting and control'.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Accurate predictions of species distributions are essential for climate change impact assessments. However the standard practice of using long-term climate averages to train species distribution models might mute important temporal patterns of species distribution. The benefit of using temporally explicit weather and distribution data has not been assessed. We hypothesized that short-term weather associated with the time a species was recorded should be superior to long-term climate measures for predicting distributions of mobile species. METHODOLOGY: We tested our hypothesis by generating distribution models for 157 bird species found in Australian tropical savannas (ATS) using modelling algorithm Maxent. The variable weather of the ATS supports a bird assemblage with variable movement patterns and a high incidence of nomadism. We developed "weather" models by relating climatic variables (mean temperature, rainfall, rainfall seasonality and temperature seasonality) from the three month, six month and one year period preceding each bird record over a 58 year period (1950-2008). These weather models were compared against models built using long-term (30 year) averages of the same climatic variables. CONCLUSIONS: Weather models consistently achieved higher model scores than climate models, particularly for wide-ranging, nomadic and desert species. Climate models predicted larger range areas for species, whereas weather models quantified fluctuations in habitat suitability across months, seasons and years. Models based on long-term climate averages over-estimate availability of suitable habitat and species' climatic tolerances, masking species potential vulnerability to climate change. Our results demonstrate that dynamic approaches to distribution modelling, such as incorporating organism-appropriate temporal scales, improves understanding of species distributions.
Project description:Background:Understanding the factors influencing movement is essential to forecasting species persistence in a changing environment. Movement is often studied using mechanistic models, extrapolating short-term observations of individuals to longer-term predictions, but the role of weather variables such as air temperature and solar radiation, key determinants of ectotherm activity, are generally neglected. We aim to show how the effects of weather can be incorporated into individual-based models of butterfly movement thus allowing analysis of their effects. Methods:We constructed a mechanistic movement model and calibrated it with high precision movement data on a widely studied species of butterfly, the meadow brown (Maniola jurtina), collected over a 21-week period at four sites in southern England. Day time temperatures during the study ranged from 14.5 to 31.5?°C and solar radiation from heavy cloud to bright sunshine. The effects of weather are integrated into the individual-based model through weather-dependent scaling of parametric distributions representing key behaviours: the durations of flight and periods of inactivity. Results:Flight speed was unaffected by weather, time between successive flights increased as solar radiation decreased, and flight duration showed a unimodal response to air temperature that peaked between approximately 23?°C and 26?°C. After validation, the model demonstrated that weather alone can produce a more than two-fold difference in predicted weekly displacement. Conclusions:Individual Based models provide a useful framework for integrating the effect of weather into movement models. By including weather effects we are able to explain a two-fold difference in movement rate of M. jurtina consistent with inter-annual variation in dispersal measured in population studies. Climate change for the studied populations is expected to decrease activity and dispersal rates since these butterflies already operate close to their thermal optimum.
Project description:Wind and temperature data are important parameters in aircraft performance studies. The lack of accurate measurements of these parameters forces researchers to rely on numerical weather prediction models, which are often filtered for a larger area with decreased local accuracy. Aircraft, however, also transmit information related to weather conditions, in response to interrogation by air traffic controller surveillance radars. Although not intended for this purpose, aircraft surveillance data contains information that can be used for weather models. This paper presents a method that can be used to reconstruct a weather field from surveillance data that can be received with a simple 1090 MHz receiver. Throughout the paper, we answer two main research questions: how to accurately infer wind and temperature from aircraft surveillance data, and how to reconstruct a real-time weather grid efficiently. We consider aircraft as moving sensors that measure wind and temperature conditions indirectly at different locations and flight levels. To address the first question, aircraft barometric altitude, ground velocity, and airspeed are decoded from down-linked surveillance data. Then, temperature and wind observations are computed based on aeronautical speed conversion equations. To address the second question, we propose a novel Meteo-Particle (MP) model for constructing the wind and temperature fields. Short-term local prediction is also possible by employing a predictor layer. Using an unseen observation test dataset, we are able to validate that the mean absolute errors of inferred wind and temperature using MP model are 67% and 26% less than using the interpolated model based on GFS reanalysis data.
Project description:Continuation of historical trends in crop yield are critical to meeting the demands of a growing and more affluent world population. Climate change may compromise our ability to meet these demands, but estimates vary widely, highlighting the importance of understanding historical interactions between yield and climate trends. The relationship between temperature and yield is nuanced, involving differential yield outcomes to warm ([Formula: see text]C) and hot ([Formula: see text]C) temperatures and differing sensitivity across growth phases. Here, we use a crop model that resolves temperature responses according to magnitude and growth phase to show that US maize has benefited from weather shifts since 1981. Improvements are related to lengthening of the growing season and cooling of the hottest temperatures. Furthermore, current farmer cropping schedules are more beneficial in the climate of the last decade than they would have been in earlier decades, indicating statistically significant adaptation to a changing climate of 13 kg·ha<sup>-1</sup>· decade<sup>-1</sup> All together, the better weather experienced by US maize accounts for 28% of the yield trends since 1981. Sustaining positive trends in yield depends on whether improvements in agricultural climate continue and the degree to which farmers adapt to future climates.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Dengue is one of the most aggressively expanding mosquito-transmitted viruses. The human burden approaches 400 million infections annually. Complex transmission dynamics pose challenges for predicting location, timing, and magnitude of risk; thus, models are needed to guide prevention strategies and policy development locally and globally. Weather regulates transmission-potential via its effects on vector dynamics. An important gap in understanding risk and roadblock in model development is an empirical perspective clarifying how weather impacts transmission in diverse ecological settings. We sought to determine if location, timing, and potential-intensity of transmission are systematically defined by weather. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:We developed a high-resolution empirical profile of the local weather-disease connection across Peru, a country with considerable ecological diversity. Applying 2-dimensional weather-space that pairs temperature versus humidity, we mapped local transmission-potential in weather-space by week during 1994-2012. A binary classification-tree was developed to test whether weather data could classify 1828 Peruvian districts as positive/negative for transmission and into ranks of transmission-potential with respect to observed disease. We show that transmission-potential is regulated by temperature-humidity coupling, enabling epidemics in a limited area of weather-space. Duration within a specific temperature range defines transmission-potential that is amplified exponentially in higher humidity. Dengue-positive districts were identified by mean temperature >22°C for 7+ weeks and minimum temperature >14°C for 33+ weeks annually with 95% sensitivity and specificity. In elevated-risk locations, seasonal peak-incidence occurred when mean temperature was 26-29°C, coincident with humidity at its local maximum; highest incidence when humidity >80%. We profile transmission-potential in weather-space for temperature-humidity ranging 0-38°C and 5-100% at 1°C x 2% resolution. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Local duration in limited areas of temperature-humidity weather-space identifies potential locations, timing, and magnitude of transmission. The weather-space profile of transmission-potential provides needed data that define a systematic and highly-sensitive weather-disease connection, demonstrating separate but coupled roles of temperature and humidity. New insights regarding natural regulation of human-mosquito transmission across diverse ecological settings advance our understanding of risk locally and globally for dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases and support advances in public health policy/operations, providing an evidence-base for modeling, predicting risk, and surveillance-prevention planning.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Patients frequently report that weather changes trigger headache or worsen existing headache symptoms. Recently, the method of empirical mode decomposition (EMD) has been used to delineate temporal relationships in certain diseases, and we applied this technique to identify intrinsic weather components associated with headache incidence data derived from a large-scale epidemiological survey of headache in the Greater Taipei area. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The study sample consisted of 52 randomly selected headache patients. The weather time-series parameters were detrended by the EMD method into a set of embedded oscillatory components, i.e. intrinsic mode functions (IMFs). Multiple linear regression models with forward stepwise methods were used to analyze the temporal associations between weather and headaches. We found no associations between the raw time series of weather variables and headache incidence. For decomposed intrinsic weather IMFs, temperature, sunshine duration, humidity, pressure, and maximal wind speed were associated with headache incidence during the cold period, whereas only maximal wind speed was associated during the warm period. In analyses examining all significant weather variables, IMFs derived from temperature and sunshine duration data accounted for up to 33.3% of the variance in headache incidence during the cold period. The association of headache incidence and weather IMFs in the cold period coincided with the cold fronts. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Using EMD analysis, we found a significant association between headache and intrinsic weather components, which was not detected by direct comparisons of raw weather data. Contributing weather parameters may vary in different geographic regions and different seasons.
Project description:Year-to-year variations in crop yields can have major impacts on the livelihoods of subsistence farmers and may trigger significant global price fluctuations, with severe consequences for people in developing countries. Fluctuations can be induced by weather conditions, management decisions, weeds, diseases, and pests. Although an explicit quantification and deeper understanding of weather-induced crop-yield variability is essential for adaptation strategies, so far it has only been addressed by empirical models. Here we provide conservative estimates of the fraction of reported national yield variabilities that can be attributed to weather by state-of-the-art, process-based crop model simulations. We find that observed weather variations can explain more than 50% of the variability in wheat yields in Australia, Canada, Spain, Hungary, and Romania. For maize, weather sensitivities exceed 50% in seven countries, including the US. The explained variance exceeds 50% for rice in Japan and South Korea and for soy in Argentina. Avoiding water stress by simulating yields assuming full irrigation shows that water limitation is a major driver of the observed variations in most of these countries. Identifying the mechanisms leading to crop-yield fluctuations is not only fundamental for dampening fluctuations, but is also important in the context of the debate on the attribution of loss and damage to climate change. Since process-based crop models not only account for weather influences on crop yields, but also represent human-management measures, they could become essential tools for differentiating these drivers, and for exploring options to reduce future yield fluctuations.
Project description:At a global level, climate change is expected to result in more frequent and higher-intensity weather events, with impacts ranging from inconvenient to catastrophic. The potential for disasters to act as "focusing events" for policy change, including adaptation to climate change risk, is well known. Moreover, local action is an important element of climate change adaptation and related risk management efforts. As such, there is a good reason to expect local communities to mobilize in response to disaster events, both with immediate response and recovery-focused activities, as well as longer-term preparedness and adaptation-focused public policy changes. However, scholars also note that the experience of disaster does not always yield policy change; indeed, disasters can also result in policy inertia and failure, perhaps as often or more often than major policy change. This study poses two key research questions. First, we ask to what degree policy change occurs in communities impacted by an extreme weather event. Second, we seek to understand the conditions that lead to adaptation-oriented policy adoption in response to an extreme weather event. Our results suggest two main recipes for future-oriented policy adoption in the wake of an extreme weather event. For both recipes, a high-impact event is a necessary condition for future-oriented policy adoption. In the first recipe for change, policy adoption occurs in Democratic communities with highly focused media attention. The second, less expected recipe for change involves Republican communities that have experienced other uncommon weather events in the recent past. We use a comparative case approach with 15 cases and fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis methods. Our approach adds to the existing literature on policy change and local adaptation by selecting a mid-N range of cases where extreme weather events have the potential to act as focusing events, thereby sidestepping selection on the dependent variable. Our approach also takes advantage of a novel method for measuring attention, the latent Dirichlet allocation approach.