Temperature Extremes and Health: Impacts of Climate Variability and Change in the United States

Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health (Dr Neill), University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Mich, USA.
Journal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.63). 02/2009; 51(1):13-25. DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318173e122
Source: PubMed


We evaluated temperature-related morbidity and mortality for the 2007 U.S. national assessment on impacts of climate change and variability on human health.
We assessed literature published since the 2000 national assessment, evaluating epidemiologic studies, surveys, and studies projecting future impacts.
Under current climate change projections, heat waves and hot weather are likely to increase in frequency, with the overall temperature distribution shifting away from the colder extremes. Vulnerable subgroups include communities in the northeastern and Midwestern U.S.; urban populations, the poor, the elderly, children, and those with impaired health or limited mobility.
Temperature extremes and variability will remain important determinants of health in the United States under climate change. Research needs include estimating exposure to temperature extremes; studying nonfatal temperature-related illness; uniform criteria for reporting heat-related health outcomes; and improving effectiveness of urban heat island reduction and extreme weather response plans.

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    • "The Chicago (Illinois) heat wave in 1995 was responsible for more than 700 heat-related deaths (Whitman et al. 1997; Semenza et al. 1996), while the 2003 heat waves in Europe contributed to over 70 000 deaths (Robine et al. 2008). Anthropogenic climate change is likely to amplify extreme heat events in cities (Barriopedro et al. 2011; McCarthy et al. 2010); future projections suggest more frequent, intense, and longer heat waves (Meehl and Tebaldi 2004), which may increase mortality in cities (McGeehin and Mirabelli 2001; O'Neill and Ebi 2009; Peng et al. 2011; Patz et al. 2005). "

    Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology 09/2015; DOI:10.1175/JAMC-D-15-0051.1 · 2.54 Impact Factor
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    • "Multiple studies demonstrate that prevailing climate patterns in the patient's geographic region may account for substantial differences in health outcomes from similar weather conditions (Kalkstein and Davis, 1989; Montero et al., 2012; Ebi and Mills, 2013). Climate differences play a major role in assessing population vulnerability scores and in developing efficient early warning systems and public health interventions (O'Neill and Ebi, 2009; Johnson et al., 2012; Aubrecht et al., 2013; Chebana et al., 2013; A. Liss et al. -Geospatial Health 8(3), 2014, pp. S647-S659 "
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    ABSTRACT: Existing climate classification has not been designed for an efficient handling of public health scenarios. This work aims to design an objective spatial climate regionalization method for assessing health risks in response to extreme weather. Specific climate regions for the conterminous United States of America (USA) were defined using satellite remote sensing (RS) data and compared with the conventional Köppen-Geiger (KG) divisions. Using the nationwide database of hospitalisations among the elderly (≥65 year olds), we examined the utility of a RS-based climate regionalization to assess public health risk due to extreme weather, by comparing the rate of hospitalisations in response to thermal extremes across climatic regions. Satellite image composites from 2002-2012 were aggregated, masked and compiled into a multi-dimensional dataset. The conterminous USA was classified into 8 distinct regions using a stepwise regionalization approach to limit noise and collinearity (LKN), which exhibited a high degree of consistency with the KG regions and a well-defined regional delineation by annual and seasonal temperature and precipitation values. The most populous was a temperate wet region (10.9 million), while the highest rate of hospitalisations due to exposure to heat and cold (9.6 and 17.7 cases per 100,000 persons at risk, respectively) was observed in the relatively warm and humid south-eastern region. RS-based regionalization demonstrates strong potential for assessing the adverse effects of severe weather on human health and for decision support. Its utility in forecasting and mitigating these effects has to be further explored.
    Geospatial health 12/2014; 8(3):294. DOI:10.4081/gh.2014.294 · 1.19 Impact Factor
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    • "4 1F ( Curriero et al . , 2002 ; O ' Neill and Ebi , 2009 ) . "
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    ABSTRACT: The health impacts of exposure to summertime heat are a significant problem in New York City (NYC) and for many cities and are expected to increase with a warming climate. Most studies on heat-related mortality have examined risk factors at the municipal or regional scale and may have missed the intra-urban variation of vulnerability that might inform prevention strategies. We evaluated whether place-based characteristics (socioeconomic/demographic and health factors, as well as the built and biophysical environment) may be associated with greater risk of heat-related mortality for seniors during heat events in NYC. As a measure of relative vulnerability to heat, we used the natural cause mortality rate ratio among those aged 65 and over (MRR65+), comparing extremely hot days (maximum heat index 100°F+) to all warm season days, across 1997-2006 for NYC's 59 Community Districts and 42 United Hospital Fund neighborhoods. Significant positive associations were found between the MRR65+ and neighborhood-level characteristics: poverty, poor housing conditions, lower rates of access to air-conditioning, impervious land cover, surface temperatures aggregated to the area-level, and seniors' hypertension. Percent Black/African American and household poverty were strong negative predictors of seniors' air conditioning access in multivariate regression analysis.
    Health & Place 09/2014; 30C:45-60. DOI:10.1016/j.healthplace.2014.07.014 · 2.81 Impact Factor
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