In a factorial design, 40 male rats 195 ± 15 days of age that had been exposed: (1) perinatally for 5 days to either 10-6T to 10-3T variation, 0.5 Hz rotating magnetic fields (RMFs) or to sham field conditions, and (2) to one of two typical postweaning caging conditions were exposed for 5 days to either 10-6T, 10-7T, 10-8T, 0.5 Hz RMFs or sham fields (<10-9T variation in an experimental room) or to colony room control conditions. Consumptive behaviors, selected tissue weights, differential white blood cell counts and 20 constituents from blood sera (analyzed by sequential multiple analyses computer) were measured. Except for marginally significant differences in Na, Cl, and Ca, there were no significant differences between adult RMF intensities for any of the measures; a significant caging by adult intensity interaction was noted for GOT. Rats that had been exposed to the experimental room (continuous noise and light) displayed significant decreases in serum albumin, globulin, glucose and phosphorus levels as well as food and water consumption. Rats that had been exposed perinatally to the RMFs displayed significant 20% reductions in UREA, GOT, and LDH activity, 4% increases in testicle weights and 17% decreases in thymus weights relative to perinatal sham field controls. The absence of significant perinatal condition by adult condition interactions did not support the hypothesis that perinatal RMF exposure might enhance responsiveness to more natural, less intense field variations. Caging differences were associated with highly significant alterations in body weight, several tissue weights, Na, Ca, protein, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, CO2 and LDH.
In eight separate experiments, 48 adult female rats were caged in groups of 3 or 4 individuals under normal lighting conditions for 120 140 days. They were then exposed in pairs to one of 6 different variation intensities (0.001 to 10 G, i.e., 10-7 T to 10-3 T) of a 0.5 Hz rotating magnetic field (RMF) or to one of 3 sham field positions for 10 days while under constant 45 lux illumination. Post-mortem examination and histological analyses demonstrated that RMF-exposed rats show no significant changes in thyroid follicle numbers, perifollicular mast cell numbers, wet adrenal and pituitary weights, body weight changes, or water consumption either between intensity groups or relative to sham field controls. Significant interactions existed for thyroid and spleen weights between exposure intensities and preexposure caging conditions for the 10-5 T to 10-6 T groups; the effect was not linearly related with field intensity. Rats that had been maintained in the 4/cage situation showed significantly lighter body weights and more thyroid follicles; the significant alterations in thyroid, adrenal and spleen weights were related to body weight.
The mean radiant temperature, Tmrt, which sums up all shortwave and longwave radiation fluxes (both direct and reflected) to which the human body is exposed is one of the key meteorological parameters governing human energy balance and the thermal comfort of man. In this paper, a new radiation model (SOLWEIG 1.0), which simulates spatial variations of 3D radiation fluxes and Tmrt in complex urban settings, is presented. The Tmrt is derived by modelling shortwave and longwave radiation fluxes in six directions (upward, downward and from the four cardinal points) and angular factors. The model requires a limited number of inputs, such as direct, diffuse and global shortwave radiation, air temperature, relative humidity, urban geometry and geographical information (latitude, longitude and elevation). The model was evaluated using 7 days of integral radiation measurements at two sites with different building geometries – a large square and a small courtyard in Göteborg, Sweden (57°N) – across different seasons and in various weather conditions. The evaluation reveals good agreement between modelled and measured values of Tmrt, with an overall good correspondence of R
2 = 0.94, (p < 0.01, RMSE = 4.8 K). SOLWEIG 1.0 is still under development. Future work will incorporate a vegetation scheme, as well as an improvement of the estimation of fluxes from the four cardinal points.
The annual numbers of human births were analyzed with regard to an 11-year cycle. The annual values were obtained from seven different regions: Australia, Germany, England and Wales, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland, and the USA. Fifty-five annual values were obtained from each region for the years 1930 to 1984, comprising approximately five sunspot cycles. For each region the annual values were formed into 5 by 11 matrices; the eleven column means obtained were standardized, and plotted. A periodic regression technique, utilizing the fitting functions of the Fourier series, was used to evaluate the temporal order in the column means. Eleven-year rhythms were found and compared with solar and geophysical variables. Correlations were found with sunspots and solar flares, with terrestrial measures of magnetic disturbances (the magnetic indices derived from the K-index), and with temperature. The correlation of conceptions with the 11-year solar cycle may be a potential guide in the selection of further variables for the control and regulation of the rhythms in human conceptions.
The effect of exposure to 5,500 m and 7,300 m simulated altitude on rat adrenal glands was assessed by the measurement of urinary 11-hydroxycorticosteroids (11-OHCS). Since rat urine contains large amounts of non-corticosteroid fluorogens, a modification was introduced into the conventional fluorimetric method. At 5,500 m altitude increased excretion of 11-OHCS was confined to the first 24 hr. At 7,300 m the excretion of 11-OHCS continued at elevated levels throughout the exposure period. The excretion of catecholamines was also increased in rats during exposure to altitude. Since changes in the levels of excreted adrenaline and body weight were comparable with changes in 11-OHCS excretion at both altitudes, in the rat urinary 11-OHCS levels appear to constitute an index of the stress imposed by high altitudes.
Correlations between the parameters of life-span (LS) distribution of Drosophila melanogaster, including mean LS (MLS) and the time of 10 and 90% population mortality, and some geophysical parameters that are usually beyond the control of researchers dealing with laboratory cultures, including atmospheric pressure, solar activity indices (Wolf’s sunspot numbers and 2,800-MHz radio flux), and geomagnetic activity (planetary index, K
p), were studied. Geophysical data were obtained from free-access official web sites of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration of the US Department of Commerce and the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism and Radiowave Propagation of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The geophysical parameters were calculated only for the period corresponding to 10 days of preimaginal development of the flies from egg to imago. Canonical correlation analysis, calculation of the non-parametric Spearman rank-order correlation coefficients, and graphical data analysis were used. Highly significant correlations between parameters of LS distribution in males and females and environmental factors, such as the atmospheric pressure on the 4th and 5th day of development and geomagnetic activity indices (K
p) on the 6th and 10th day of development were found, with correlation coefficients varying from 0.31 to 0.37 (P<0.02). Assuming a causal relationship between geophysical factors and LS, it may be hypothesized that energetically weak environmental factors determine the formation of LS oscillatory dynamics in laboratory populations. The possible mechanisms underlying the contribution of these environmental factors to the LS variation in successive generations are discussed.
Response to cold exposure tests both locally and of the whole body were examined in subjects who stayed in the arctic (average maximum and minimum temperatures -11 and -21 degrees C respectively) for 14 days of skiing and sleeping in tents. These changes were compared to responses in subjects living working in Ottawa, Canada (average max. and min. temperatures -5 and -11 degrees C respectively). The tests were done before the stay in the Arctic (Pre), immediately after the return (Post 1) and approximately 32 days after the return (Post 2). For the whole-body cold exposure each subject, wearing only shorts and lying on a rope mesh cot, was exposed to an ambient temperature of 10 degrees C. There was no consistent response in the changes of metabolic or body temperature to this exposure in either of groups and, in addition, the changes over time were variable. Cold induced vasodilatation (CIVD) was determined by measuring temperature changes in the middle finger of the nondominant hand upon immersion in ice water for 30 min. CIVD was depressed after the Arctic exposure whilst during the Post 2 testing, although variable, did not return to the Pre values; the responses of the control group were similar. These results indicate that normal seasonal changes may be as important in adaptation as a stay in the Arctic. Caution is advised in the separation of seasonal effects when examining the changes in adaptation after exposure to a cold environment.
Physiological changes were investigated in the cardio-respiratory function of competitors in a bicycle race which involved not a flat course but ascending a mountain, from 1400 m to 2800 m. Heart rate throughout the race, arterial oxygen saturation and pulmonary function before and after the race of well trained competitors were measured. The individual's maximal heart rate during the race was designated as HRmax for the calculations. (1) There were significant correlations between the age and the mean %HRmax during the race, between mean %HRmax and time, and between age and time (n = 15); the mean %HRmax had a 3.90 times greater effect on time than did age. (2) The individuals who performed best had lower values of oxygen saturation just after finishing the race (n = 51). (3) At 1 min after reaching the finishing line, oxygen saturation levels had recovered to the value of 20 min after finishing the race, whereas the heart rate was still in the process of recovery (n = 18). (4) Maximum expiratory flow at 50% vital capacity measured 30 min after reaching the finishing line was significantly higher than at the starting point. The intensity of the load on the cardiac system produced by completion of this course was estimated to be almost the same as that of a full marathon on a flat course. The time depended on both the youth of the cyclist and on his ability to maintain a high value of %HRmax during the race.
Seven different tree-ring parameters were obtained from Chinese pine (Pinus tabulaeformis) in the Changling Mountains, China. The chronologies were analyzed individually and then compared with each other. The climate response analysis shows that total precipitation (September-July) is the main factor limiting the radial growth of Chinese pine in the Changling Mountains. Thus, the residual earlywood width chronology was used to estimate precipitation (September-July) for the period AD 1691-2006, and explained 46.9% of the precipitation variance. Drought events in our reconstruction are compared to historical archives for Gansu and north-central China. The results reveal the climatic extremes over much of Gansu. Some events have had profound impacts on the Gansu people over the past several centuries. Spatial analysis shows that the precipitation reconstruction has strong common signals for North-central China. The reconstructed series is correlated significantly with Helan Mountains Palmer drought severity index (PDSI), as well as with previous results from Jiuquan, Shandan, Huashan, Luya Mountains, and even the state of Mongolia. Our results suggest that some dry periods are coincident with solar minima over the past several hundred years. Multitaper spectral analysis reveals the existence of significant 24.4-year, 12.2-year, and 2.4- to 3.4-year periods of variability.
Cross-generational effects (grandmother effects) associated with epigenetic imprinting, environmental exposures, and lifestyle choices are beginning to be explored by various investigators. The possibility that low-level background radiation can be a driver of such effects has been suggested previously and is explored further in this study. Age-period-cohort analysis was performed on United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), and Australian (AU) female breast cancer mortality of the twentieth century, as well as on UK female total cancer mortality, to extract the high-frequency oscillations in the birth cohort time series. US fetal and infant congenital mortality were examined to extend the birth cohorts to modern times. A approximately 17-year cycle was detected in all birth cohort series, which spanned approximately 180 years from 1820 to 2000. This suggests a global, environmental cause. To mimic previous work in examining a possible link to cosmic radiation, the 17- to 18-year cycles of the cosmogenic nuclide (14)C, the sunspot double-cycle, neutron monitors, and a compilation of ground-based magnetic field observations were examined in the birth cohort and germ cell cohort time frames. Evidence is presented that optimal alignments with extraterrestrial oscillations occur in the time frame of the germ-cell cohort, one generation before the birth cohorts. Furthermore, the alignment is optimized by accounting for the changes in the maternal age distribution over time. These findings have potential importance to the mechanisms of disease as well as species adaptation and evolution.
Plantago L. species are very common in nitrified areas such as roadsides and their pollen is a major cause of pollinosis in temperate regions. In this study, we sampled airborne pollen grains in the city of León (NW, Spain) from January 1995 to December 2011, by using a Burkard® 7-day-recording trap. The percentage of Plantago pollen compared to the total pollen count ranged from 11 % (1997) to 3 % (2006) in the period under study. Peak pollen concentrations were recorded in May and June. Our 17-year analysis failed to disclose significant changes in the seasonal trend of plantain pollen concentration. In addition, there were no important changes in the start dates of pollen release and the meteorological parameters analyzed did not show significant variations in their usual trends. We analyzed the influence of several meteorological parameters on Plantago pollen concentration to explain the differences in pollen concentration trends during the study. Our results show that temperature, sun hours, evaporation, and relative humidity are the meteorological parameters best correlated to the behavior of Plantago pollen grains. In general, the years with low pollen concentrations correspond to the years with less precipitation or higher temperatures. We calculated the approximate Plantago flowering dates using the cumulative sum of daily maximum temperatures and compared them with the real bloom dates. The differences obtained were 4 days in 2009, 3 days in 2010, and 1 day in 2011 considering the complete period of pollination.
Investigations were performed on the fractionation of the urinary 17-ketosteroids of 6 castrated rams kept in constant general conditions and diet, 44 assays were performed during 3 winter months.Comparison of the hormone assais with the fluctuation in environmental temperature showed there to be a positive correlation between temperature under 0°C and 11-oxy-17-ketosteroid excretion and negative correlation with dehydro-epiandrosterone and aldosterone + etiocholanolone excretion. There was an inverse response when the temperature was over 0°C. The different response of cortisteroidogenesis to experimental and natural conditions is discussed in relation to high and low temperature.
Cold injury is a tissue trauma produced by exposure to freezing temperatures and even brief exposure to a severely cold and windy environment. Rewarming of frozen tissue is associated with blood reperfusion and the simultaneous generation of free oxygen radicals. In this review is discussed the current understanding of the mechanism of action of free oxygen radicals as related to cold injury during rewarming. Decreased energy stores during ischaemia lead to the accumulation of adenine nucleotides and liberation of free fatty acids due to the breakdown of lipid membranes. On rewarming, free fatty acids are metabolized via cyclo-oxygenase and adenine nucleotides are metabolized via the xanthine oxidase pathway. These may be the source of free oxygen radicals. Leukocytes may also play a major role in the pathogenesis of cold injury. Oxygen radical scavengers, such as superoxide dismutase and catalase, may help to reduce the cold induced injury but their action is limited due to the inability readily to cross the plasma membrane. Lipid soluble antioxidants are likely to be more effective scavengers because of their presence in membranes where peroxidative reactions can be arrested.
Plant phenological data and tree-rings were tested for their palaeoclimatic value in south-west Finland since AD 1750. The information from fragmentary, partly overlapping, partly non-systematically biased plant phenological records of 14 different phenomena (a total of 3,144 observations) was combined into one continuous time series of phenological indices. All site- and phenomenon-specific series were standardized to present an average of zero and standard deviation of one. The mean phenomenon-specific series were then averaged as arithmetic means for annually resolved time series representing the variability in the particular plant phenomenon. Consequently, each phenomenon-specific mean series was based on spatially normalized site-specific index series. These series were compared to each other, living-tree and subfossil tree-rings, and to early and modern meteorological time series. Phenological indices showed strong positive correlation with February to June temperatures. On the other hand, the correlations between phenological indices and precipitation data were around zero. Analysis using time-dependent running correlations showed non-stationary relationship between the tree-rings and phenological indices and observed spring temperatures. The skill of phenological data for reconstructing the spring temperatures was statistically proved.
Precipitation from the previous August to the current June over the last 232 years in Liancheng, China, was reconstructed by a transfer function based on the correlation between tree-ring widths and local meteorological data. The explained variance was 45.3 %, and fluctuations on both annual and decadal scales were captured. Wet periods with precipitation above the 232-year mean occurred from 1777 to 1785, 1802 to 1818, 1844 to 1861, 1889 to 1922 and 1939 to 1960. Dry periods (precipitation below the mean) occurred from 1786 to 1801, 1819 to 1843, 1862 to 1888 and 1923 to 1938. The reconstruction compares well with a tree-ring-based precipitation reconstruction at Mt. Xinglong; both of them showed the well-known severe drought in the late 1920s. The rainfall series also shows highly synchronous decreasing trends since the 1940s, suggesting that precipitation related to the East Asian summer monsoon at these two sites has decreased by large spatial and temporal (decadal) scales. Power spectrum analysis of the reconstruction showed remarkable 21.82-, 3.48-, 3.12-, 3.08- and 2.31-year cycles for the past 232 years; the 22-year cycle corresponds to the solar cycle and is expressed widely in tree ring/precipitation reconstructions on the China Loess Plateau. This may suggest a solar influence on the precipitation variations on the Loess Plateau, although the mechanisms are not well understood.
The dynamics of total hospital deaths from different kinds of cardiovascular diseases in one 1000-bed hospital were compared with 10 monthly cosmic/solar and geomagnetic physical activity parameters. Data used were of 180 consecutive months; 15,601 deaths including 5667 from cardiovascular diseases were included in this study. It was concluded that the number of monthly hospital deaths shows a highly significant correlation with monthly solar physical activity.
Long-term records of solar UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface are scarce. Radiative transfer calculations and statistical models are two options used to reconstruct decadal changes in solar UV radiation from long-term records of measured atmospheric parameters that contain information on the effect of clouds, atmospheric aerosols and ground albedo on UV radiation. Based on earlier studies, where the long-term variation of daily solar UV irradiation was derived from measured global and diffuse irradiation as well as atmospheric ozone by a non-linear regression method [Feister et al. (2002) Photochem Photobiol 76:281-293], we present another approach for the reconstruction of time series of solar UV radiation. An artificial neural network (ANN) was trained with measurements of solar UV irradiation taken at the Meteorological Observatory in Potsdam, Germany, as well as measured parameters with long-term records such as global and diffuse radiation, sunshine duration, horizontal visibility and column ozone. This study is focussed on the reconstruction of daily broad-band UV-B (280-315 nm), UV-A (315-400 nm) and erythemal UV irradiation (ER). Due to the rapid changes in cloudiness at mid-latitude sites, solar UV irradiance exhibits appreciable short-term variability. One of the main advantages of the statistical method is that it uses doses of highly variable input parameters calculated from individual spot measurements taken at short time intervals, which thus do represent the short-term variability of solar irradiance.
The stable oxygen isotope (δ
18O) composition of Austrocedrus chilensis (D. Don) Endl. (Cupressaceae) tree rings potentially provide retrospective views of changes in environment and climate in the semi-arid lands of Patagonia. We report the development of the first annually resolved δ
18O tree-ring chronology obtained from natural forests of the foothills of the northwestern Patagonian Andes. The isotope record spans between 1890 and 1994 AD. We explore the probable links between this record and the climate of the region. Air temperatures during summer conditions are significantly, but not strongly, inversely correlated with annual δ
18O values from Austrocedrus tree rings. The strongest correlations are between the southern oscillation index (SOI) and the tree rings. The existence of millennial-age Austrocedrus trees in northern Patagonia provides interesting possibilities for examining these climate-related isotopic signals over most of the last 1,000 years.
Plant phenological data from northern Finland, compiled from several sources, were examined as potential biometeorological indicators of climate change since the 18th century. A common feature of individual series was their sporadic nature. In addition to waning enthusiasm, wartime hardships and crop failures had caused gaps in recording observations during the 18th and 19th centuries. The present study's challenge was to combine separate records, as retrieved from several historical archives and personal diaries, into a single continuous series. To avoid possible biases due to the variability of data availability each year, each phenomenon-specific mean series was transformed into normalized site-specific index series. These series were compared to each other and to a regional instrumental temperature series (years 1802-2011). The inter-phenomena correlations were high. Moreover, a strong biometeorological response of the phenological series, most especially to monthly mean temperature in May, and seasonally to the April through June temperatures, was identified. This response focused on slightly later spring months compared to the responses in an earlier study conducted for southern Finland. The findings encouraged us to compute a total phenological index series as an average of all available phenomenon-specific index series for northern Finland. The earliest phenological springs were found as a cluster in the recent end of the record, whereas the anomalously-late phenological spring could be found through the centuries. This finding could indicate that potential future warming could result in an earlier onset of phenological springs (i.e. as experienced by the plants), with a remaining possibility of late phenological springs. To conclude, it was shown that the indices are reliable biometeorological indicators of the April through June temperature variations and thus of the climate variability in the region.
Previous research using varying methods has shown that the day-to-day variability in cardiovascular (CV)-related mortality is correlated with a number of different meteorological variables, though these relationships can vary geographically. This research systematically examines the relationship between anomalous winter CV-related mortality and geographically and seasonally relative multivariate surface weather types derived from a recently developed gridded weather typing classification (GWTC) for cities in varying climate regions of the United States of America (USA). Results indicate that for all locations examined, during winter, a dry and cool (DC) weather type is significantly related to increased CV-related mortality, especially in the 2 weeks immediately after it occurs, with no apparent mortality displacement. Across the USA as a whole, the peak of this relationship is a 4.1% increase in CV-related mortality at a lag of 3 days. Spike days in CV-related mortality show similar trends, being over 50% more likely 2 to 4 days after the DC type occurs. A humid and warm (HW) weather type exhibited a significant and opposite relationship to that of DC. While these results for DC and HW were statistically significant at every location examined, the magnitudes were larger in the warmer locations. Among other weather types, Warm Front Passages (WFP) were also related to significant increases in CV-related mortality, especially 1 day after they occurred. Though this link was much more varied geographically than results found with DC or HW, it suggests that sequences of multiple DC days followed by WFP may result in increased CV-related mortality.
Time management of truly wild hamsters was investigated in their natural habitat in Alashan desert, Inner Mongolia, China during summer of 2009, 2010, and 2012. Duration of activity outside their burrows, duration of foraging walks, and nocturnal inside stays were analyzed with the aim to elucidate impact of moon, ambient, and soil temperature. Animal data were determined using radio frequency identification (RFID) technique; for that purpose, individuals were caught in the field and marked with passive transponders. Their burrows were equipped with integrated microchip readers and photosensors for the detection of movements into or out of the burrow. Lunar impact was analyzed based on moon phase (full, waning, new, and waxing moons) and moon disk size. A prolongation of aboveground activity was shown with increasing moon disk size (Spearman ρ = 0.237; p = 0.025) which was caused by earlier onsets (ρ =−0.161; p = 0.048); additionally, foraging walks took longer (Pearson r = 0.037; p = 0.037). Temperature of different periods of time was analyzed, i.e., mean of whole day, of the activity phase, minimum, and maximum. Moreover, this was done for the current day and the previous 3 days. Overall, increasing ambient and soil temperatures were associated with shortening of activity by earlier offsets of activity and shorter nocturnal stays inside their burrows. Most influential temperatures for activity duration were the maximum ambient temperature, 3 days before (stepwise regression analysis R = 0.499; R
2 = 0.249; F = 7.281; p = 0.013) and soil temperature during activity phase, 1 day before (R = 0.644; R
2 = 0.283; F = 7.458; p = 0.004).
The impact of short-term temperature fluctuations on mortality has been studied mainly on historical populations, thus providing a limited ability to generalize to contemporary conditions, which would be more useful in determining public health policies aimed at reducing mortality. Therefore, this study examined the effects of monthly temperature fluctuations on mortality in the United States from 1921 to 1985. Monthly data about mortality from the Vital Statistics and temperature from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the US Department of Agriculture Weather Bureau were used. Six states were selected to be studied (Massachusetts, Michigan, Washington, Utah, North Carolina, and Mississippi). The analysis was carried out using distributed lag models. The analysis showed that warmer than usual temperatures in July and August, and unusually cold temperatures from January to June are linked to higher mortality. From September to December unusually low temperatures are associated with higher mortality in most states, while temperature has no significant effect on mortality in June and September. In January and February mortality is especially affected by unusually cold weather in the southern states of Mississippi and North Carolina. For example, a one degree drop in the mean temperature in 1921 is associated with a more than 3.5% increase in the February crude death rate in Mississippi and North Carolina and a less than 1% increase in the four other states examined. Finally, in the months from January to March the relationship between monthly fluctuations in the crude death rate and temperature declined over time and became relatively weak by 1985.
First flowering was observed in some native herbaceous and woody plants in Norway at latitudes of ∼58°N to nearly 71°N from 1928 to 1977. For woody plants, the timing for first bud burst was also often observed. Generally, there were highly significant correlations (0.1% level) between the timing of nearly all spring-early summer observations in plants and gridded mean monthly temperatures for the various phenophases (up to 65% of the variance was accounted for, less so for the autumn phenophases). Analyses by a low pass Gaussian smoothing technique showed early phenophases in the warm period of the early 1930s, delayed phases for most sites and species in colder periods in the early 1940s, mid-1950s, late 1960s and also towards the end of the study period in the late 1970s, all in approximately 10- to 12-year cycles. The study thus starts in a relatively early (warm) period and ends towards a late (cooler) period, resulting in mainly weak linear trends in phenophases throughout the total period. The end of the observation period in 1977 also predates the strongly increasing "earliness" in phenology of plants in most Norwegian lowland areas due to global warming. The strong altitudinal and latitudinal variations in Norway, however, do cause regional differences in trends. The study showed a tendency towards earlier spring phenophases all along the western coast from south to north in the country. On the other hand, the northeasternmost site and also the more continental sites in the southeast showed tendencies to weak trends for later phenophases during the 50 years of these field observations.
Based on records from the Federal Bureau for Statistics of Germany, the seasonality of mortality was investigated for the period 1946-1995. Lowest mortality rates were found during summer (August or September) while highest values were found in winter (January through March). Non-linear regression of all monthly mortality data with the average monthly temperatures in Germany revealed a significant negative relationship (r = -0.739; n = 600; P < 0.0001). The fact that the differences between the long-range monthly temperatures and the individual monthly temperatures also showed a distinct relationship to the mortality rates speaks against a mere coincidence of both parameters. The amplitude of this seasonal rhythm declined steadily within the observation period. It is concluded that low temperatures cause an increase in mortality rates and that this effect has become less important during recent decades due to the increased use of central heating and because of improvements in the public health system.
One of the ways to assess the impacts of climate change on plants is analysing their long-term phenological data. We studied phenological records of 18 common tree species and their 8 phenological phases, spanning 65 years (1946-2010) and covering the area of the Czech Republic. For each species and phenophase, we assessed the changes in its annual means (for detecting shifts in the timing of the event) and standard deviations (for detecting changes in duration of the phenophases). The prevailing pattern across tree species was that since around the year 1976, there has been a consistent advancement of the onset of spring phenophases (leaf unfolding and flowering) and subsequent acceleration of fruit ripening, and a delay of autumn phenophases (leaf colouring and leaf falling). The most considerable shifts in the timing of spring phenophases were displayed by early-successional short-lived tree species. The most pronounced temporal shifts were found for the beginning of seed ripening in conifers with an advancement in this phenophase of up to 2.2 days year(-1) in Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris). With regards to the change in duration of the phenophases, no consistent patterns were revealed. The growing season has extended on average by 23.8 days during the last 35 years. The most considerable prolongation was found in Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur): 31.6 days (1976-2010). Extended growing season lengths do have the potential to increase growth and seed productivity, but unequal shifts among species might alter competitive relationships within ecosystems.
Increases in air temperature due to the anthropogenic greenhouse effect can be detected easily in the phenological data of Europe within the last four decades because spring phenological events are particularly sensitive to temperature. Our new analysis of observational data from the International Phenological Gardens in Europe for the 1959-1996 period revealed that spring events, such as leaf unfolding, have advanced on average by 6.3 days (-0.21 day/year), whereas autumn events, such as leaf colouring, have been delayed on average by 4.5 days (+0.15 day/year). Thus, the average annual growing season has lengthened on average by 10.8 days since the early 1960s. For autumn events, differences between mean trends of species could not be detected, but for spring events there were differences between species, with the higher trends for leaf unfolding and flowering of shrubs indicating that changes in events occurring in the early spring are more distinct. These observed trends in plant phenological events in the International Phenological Gardens and results of other phenological studies in Europe, summarised in this study, are consistent with AVHRR satellite measurements of the normalized difference vegetation index from 1981 to 1991 and with an analysis of long-term measurements of the annual cycle of CO2 concentration in Hawaii and Alaska, also indicating a global lengthening of the growing season.
Flowering dates and the timing of late season frost are both driven by local ambient temperatures. However, under climatic warming observed over the past century, it remains uncertain how such impacts affect frost risk associated with plant phenophase shifts. Any increase in frost frequency or severity has the potential to damage flowers and their resultant yields and, in more extreme cases, the survival of the plant. An accurate assessment of the relationship between the timing of last frost events and phenological shifts associated with warmer climate is thus imperative. We investigate spring advances in citrus flowering dates (orange, tangerine, sweet lemon, sour lemon and sour orange) for Kerman and Shiraz, Iran from 1960 to 2010. These cities have experienced increases in both T
max and T
min, advances in peak flowering dates and changes in last frost dates over the study period. Based on daily instrumental climate records, the last frost dates for each year are compared with the peak flowering dates. For both cities, the rate of last frost advance lags behind the phenological advance, thus increasing frost risk. Increased frost risk will likely have considerable direct impacts on crop yields and on the associated capacity to adapt, given future climatic uncertainty.
An influence of the 9 July 1962 high altitude nuclear test on the reproductive responses in DROSOPHILA cultures was indicated by the occurrence of simultaneous minimas in progeny curves. Progeny from cultures grown in magnetic fields disclosed less deviation from a four generation mean value than did progeny from control cultures. It is suggested that the magnetic fields deflected a portion of the increased 9 July radiation from the test region. Based on limited data,the possibility exists that a protective effect may have been transferred to first generation flies grown out of the magnetic fields.
The suicide rate in New South Wales is shown to be related to annual precipitation, supporting a widespread and long-held assumption that drought in Australia increases the likelihood of suicide. The relationship, although statistically significant, is not especially strong and is confounded by strong, long-term variations in the suicide rate not related to precipitation variations. A decrease in precipitation of about 300 mm would lead to an increase in the suicide rate of approximately 8% of the long-term mean suicide rate.
Changes in summer (July-September) and winter (January-March) mortalities of people aged 70-74 in England and Wales from 1964 to 1984 were compared with possible causal factors. Summer mortalities were little affected by annual temperature or influenza epidemics and fell from 1972-1975 for all causes, coronary and respiratory causes, while cerebrovascular mortality fell more rapidly from that time. Cigarette consumption also fell from 1972-1975; falling consumptions of total fat from 1970 and saturated fat from 1972-1975 probably also contributed to the fall in arterial deaths, and likewise falls in prescription rates for tranquillisers and sedatives from 1976-1978 to the fall in respiratory deaths. From 1964 to 1984 use of central heating increased from 13% to 69% of households, domestic fuel consumption increased, and excess mortality in winter from respiratory disease declined by 69%, even relative to summer mortality and when adjusted for varying coldness of winters. The improvement was partly explained by a decline in influenza epidemics. By contrast, excess mortalities in winter from coronary and cerebrovascular disease, although rising in some early influenza epidemics, did not fall significantly as home heating improved. These thrombotic deaths together accounted for 56% of the total excess winter mortality by 1984. The findings support other indications that most of the excess mortality from arterial thrombosis in winter in England and Wales is due to brief excursions outdoors rather than to low indoor temperatures.
During the period 10 to 14 July 1966, weather conditions in Illinois led to a 36% increase in deaths for the month over those that had occurred in July 1965. At Springfield, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri,Thom's temperature-humidity index (T H I) exceeded 29°C for several hours on each of these days, with a 24-hr average of 27°C or greater. There was a significant increase in deaths from cardiovascular disease, particularly cerebral hemorrhage and arteriosclerosis,among persons 65 years and older. In contrast, the working age group,45 to 64 years, showed practically no excess mortality. Deaths from malignant neoplasm were below their expected numbers for all ages. For the first time,a sufficiently large Negro population has been observed under heat stress to warrant an analysis by age, sex and race.The Comparative Mortality Figure (C M F) was used to make the comparisons. Both sexes of the white race in the age range 25 to 54 years and the Negro females ages 55 years and over were seriously affected.
The record running times of Mexico City Olympic Games gold medal winners (men and women) were plotted against the pre-October 1968 records, showing that performances for short distances were better at mid-altitude, while for long distances the performances were better at low elevations.
Global warming is increasingly recognized as a threat to the survival of human beings, because it could cause a serious increase in the occurrence of diseases due to environmental heat during intermittent hot weather. To assess the direct impact of extremely hot weather on human health, we investigated heat-related deaths in Japan from 1968 through 1994, analyzing the data to determine the distribution of the deaths by age and their correlation to the incidence of hot days in summer. Vital Statistics of Japan, published by the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Japan, was the source of the heat-related mortality data employed in this study. Meteorological data were obtained from the District Meteorological Observatories in Tokyo and Osaka, the two largest cities in Japan. Heat-related deaths were most prone to occur on days with a peak daily temperature above 38 degrees C, and the incidence of these deaths showed an exponential dependence on the number of hot days. Thus, even a small rise in atmospheric temperature may lead to a considerable increase in heat-related mortality, indicating the importance of combating global warming. Furthermore, half (50.1%) of the above-noted deaths occurred in children (4 years and under) and the elderly (70 years and over) irrespective of gender, indicating the vulnerability of these specific age groups to heat. Since a warmer climate is predicted in the future, the incidence of heat waves will increase, and more comprehensive measures, both medical and social, should be adopted for children of 4 years and younger the elderly to prevent heat-related deaths in these age groups.
Studies in temperate countries have shown that both hot weather in summer and cold weather in winter increase short-term (daily) mortality. The gradual warming, decade on decade, that Australia has experienced since the 1960s, might therefore be expected to have differentially affected mortality in the two seasons, and thus indicate an early impact of climate change on human health. Failure to detect such a signal would challenge the widespread assumption that the effect of weather on mortality implies a similar effect of a change from the present to projected future climate. We examine the ratio of summer to winter deaths against a background of rising average annual temperatures over four decades: the ratio has increased from 0.71 to 0.86 since 1968. The same trend, albeit of varying strength, is evident in all states of Australia, in four age groups (aged 55 years and above) and in both sexes. Analysis of cause-specific mortality suggests that the change has so far been driven more by reduced winter mortality than by increased summer mortality. Furthermore, comparisons of this seasonal mortality ratio calculated in the warmest subsets of seasons in each decade, with that calculated in the coldest seasons, show that particularly warm annual conditions, which mimic the expected temperatures of future climate change, increase the likelihood of higher ratios (approaching 1:1). Overall, our results indicate that gradual climate change, as well as short-term weather variations, affect patterns of mortality.
As published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global warming is a reality and its impact is huge like the increase of extreme weather events, glacier recession, sea level rise and also effects on human health. Among them allergies to airborne pollen might increase or change in pattern due to the invasion of new allergic plants or due to different behavior of plants like earlier flowering. In this study we used the longest Swiss airborne pollen data set to examine the influence of the temperature increase on the time of flowering. In the case of Basel, where pollen data for 38 years are available, it was shown that due to a temperature increase the start of flowering in the case of birch occurred about 15 days earlier. Apart from a shift of the start of the flowering there is also a trend towards higher annual birch pollen quantities and an increase of the highest daily mean pollen concentrations. Due to global warming and because symptoms may appear earlier in the year people suffering from a pollen allergy might face a new unaccustomed situation.
While conventional wisdom assumes that inclement weather on election day reduces voter turnout, there is remarkably little evidence available to support truth to such belief. This paper examines the effects of temperature, sunshine duration and rainfall on voter turnout in 13 Dutch national parliament elections held from 1971 to 2010. It merges the election results from over 400 municipalities with election-day weather data drawn from the nearest weather station. We find that the weather parameters indeed affect voter turnout. Election-day rainfall of roughly 25 mm (1 inch) reduces turnout by a rate of one percent, whereas a 10-degree-Celsius increase in temperature correlates with an increase of almost one percent in overall turnout. One hundred percent sunshine corresponds to a one and a half percent greater voter turnout compared to zero sunshine.
Inclement weather on election day is widely seen to benefit certain political parties at the expense of others. Empirical evidence for this weather-vote share hypothesis is sparse however. We examine the effects of rainfall and temperature on share of the votes of eight political parties that participated in 13 national parliament elections, held in the Netherlands from 1971 to 2010. This paper merges the election results for all Dutch municipalities with election-day weather observations drawn from all official weather stations well distributed over the country. We find that the weather parameters affect the election results in a statistically and politically significant way. Whereas the Christian Democratic party benefits from substantial rain (10 mm) on voting day by gaining one extra seat in the 150-seat Dutch national parliament, the left-wing Social Democratic (Labor) and the Socialist parties are found to suffer from cold and wet conditions. Cold (5°C) and rainy (10 mm) election day weather causes the latter parties to lose one or two parliamentary seats.
Seasonal patterns of death from suicide are well-documented and have been attributed to climatic factors such as solar radiation and ambient temperature. However, studies on the impact of weather and climate on suicide are not consistent, and conflicting data have been reported. In this study, we performed a correlation analysis between nationwide suicide rates and weather variables in Finland during the period 1971-2003. The weather parameters studied were global solar radiation, temperature and precipitation, and a range of time spans from 1 month to 1 year were used in order to elucidate the dose-response relationship, if any, between weather variables and suicide. Single and multiple linear regression models show weak associations using 1-month and 3-month time spans, but robust associations using a 12-month time span. Cumulative global solar radiation had the best explanatory power, while average temperature and cumulative precipitation had only a minor impact on suicide rates. Our results demonstrate that winters with low global radiation may increase the risk of suicide. The best correlation found was for the 5-month period from November to March; the inter-annual variability in the cumulative global radiation for that period explained 40 % of the variation in the male suicide rate and 14 % of the variation in the female suicide rate, both at a statistically significant level. Long-term variations in global radiation may also explain, in part, the observed increasing trend in the suicide rate until 1990 and the decreasing trend since then in Finland.
Seasonal and annual movements of Australian waterbirds are generally more complex than those of their Northern Hemisphere counterparts, and long-term data are needed to understand their relationships with climatic variables. This paper explores a long-term (1973-2002) set of waterbird counts from coastal Victoria and relates them to climatic data at local and continental scales. Three species (Black Swan Cygnus atratus, White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae and Grey Teal Anas gracilis) were chosen for this analysis. Black Swans have large local breeding populations near the study region; White-faced Herons have smaller local breeding populations and Grey Teal breed extensively in ephemeral inland floodplains, such as those in the Murray-Darling Basin. All showed significant relationships with streamflow, regional rainfall and the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) at appropriate scales and time-lags, with streamflow explaining the most variance. Black Swans showed a strong seasonal cycle in abundance and local climate variables had the greatest influence on the counts. Numbers were positively correlated with streamflow in southern Victoria three to six seasons before each count. Broader-scale climatic patterns were more important for the other two species. Numbers of White-faced Herons were positively correlated with streamflow or rainfall over various parts of Australia seven to nine seasons before each count. Numbers of Grey Teal showed weak seasonal cycles, and were negatively correlated with rainfall in Victoria or the Murray-Darling Basin in the seasons before or during each count, and positively with streamflow in the Murray-Darling Basin 15-18 months before each count.
Several studies show a peak in suicide rates during springtime and suggest differences in the seasonal variation of suicides. However, the seasonal distribution of the temperature impact on suicide is less clear. This study investigated the relationship between diurnal temperature range (DTR) on suicide mortality. Daily temperature and suicide data for Helsinki were analyzed for the period of 1973-2010 inclusive. Overall, DTR reached its maximum during the spring from mid-April to mid-June, which is also the season with highest suicide mortality in the study region. Specifically, the seasonal timing and maxima for both DTR and suicides vary from year to year. Time series analysis of DTR and suicide records revealed a significant (P < 0.01) correlation between the springtime DTR maxima and suicide rates for males. No similar association could be found for females. These results provide evidence that a higher springtime DTR could be linked statistically to a higher seasonal suicide rate each spring, whereas the exact timing of the DTR peak did not associate with the seasonal suicide rate. A possible mechanism behind the springtime association between the DTR and suicides originates from brown adipose tissue (BAT) over-activity. Activation of BAT through the winter improves cold tolerance at the cost of heat tolerance. This might trigger anxiety and psychomotor agitation, affecting mood in a negative way. As a hypothesis, the compromised heat tolerance is suggested to increase the risk of death from suicide.
The relationship between air temperature and human mortality is described as non-linear, with mortality tending to rise in response to increasingly hot or cold ambient temperatures from a given minimum mortality or optimal comfort temperature, which varies from some areas to others according to their climatic and socio-demographic characteristics. Changes in these characteristics within any specific region could modify this relationship. This study sought to examine the time trend in the maximum temperature of minimum organic-cause mortality in Castile-La Mancha, from 1975 to 2003. The analysis was performed by using daily series of maximum temperatures and organic-cause mortality rates grouped into three decades (1975-1984, 1985-1994, 1995-2003) to compare confidence intervals (p<0.05) obtained by estimating the 10-yearly mortality rates corresponding to the maximum temperatures of minimum mortality calculated for each decade. Temporal variations in the effects of cold and heat on mortality were ascertained by means of ARIMA models (Box-Jenkins) and cross-correlation functions (CCF) at seven lags. We observed a significant decrease in comfort temperature (from 34.2 degrees C to 27.8 degrees C) between the first two decades in the Province of Toledo, along with a growing number of significant lags in the summer CFF (1, 3 and 5, respectively). The fall in comfort temperature is attributable to the increase in the effects of heat on mortality, due, in all likelihood, to the percentage increase in the elderly population.
We examined birth records from Japanese statistics, 1975-1994, to investigate the seasonality of twin births. We could identify 198,924 pairs of twins (97.9% of all the registered twin records) and estimated the numbers of mono- and dizygotic twin pairs. The seasonal index of the twinning rate for each month was calculated by dividing the crude rate by the estimated trend value for the month. There were significant variations in the seasonal index for overall, dizygotic and monozygotic twinning rates. Peak months with values more than 3% higher than expected were July and October-December for dizygotic twins, and April and June for monozygotic twins; these seasonalities were statistically significant by analysis of variance and the patterns were similar in recent years, with a sharp increase in the total twinning rate. When observed year-by-year, however, there were years that did not show these typical seasonalities. It is suggested that the mechanisms for probable seasonal variations in twinning rates are different for dizygotic and monozygotic twin pregnancies, and that factors involved in these variations are not effective every year.
Studies on temperature-mortality time trends especially address heat, so that any contribution on the subject of cold is necessarily of interest. This study describes the modification of the lagged effects of cold on mortality in Castile-La Mancha from 1975 to 2003, with the novelty of also approaching this aspect in terms of mortality trigger thresholds. Cross-correlation functions (CCFs) were thus established with 15 lags, after application of ARIMA models to the mortality data and minimum daily temperatures (from November to March), and the results for the periods 1975-1984, 1985-1994 and 1995-2003 were then compared. In addition, daily mortality residuals for the periods 1975-1989 and 1990-2003 were related to minimum temperatures grouped in 2°C intervals, with a cold threshold temperature being obtained in cases where such residuals increased significantly (p < 0.05) with respect to the mean for the study period. A cold-related mortality trigger threshold of -3°C was obtained for Ciudad Real for the period 1990-2003. The significant number of lags (p < 0.05) in the CCFs declined every 10 years in Toledo (5-2-0), Cuenca (4-2-0), Albacete (4-3-0) and Ciudad Real (3-2-1). This meant that, while the trend in cold-related mortality trigger thresholds in the region could not be ascertained, it was possible to establish a reduction in the lagged effects of cold on mortality, attributable to the improvement in socio-economic conditions over the study period. Evidence was shown of the effects of cold on mortality, a finding that renders the adoption of preventive measures advisable in any case where intense cold is forecast.
The Discomfort Index (DI), and its associated heat load categories as worked out for conditions in Israel, was used in a study of the summer months of 1976 and 1978 in London. The cool summer of 1978 presented no heat load problems but the exceptionally warm summer of 1976, especially the period between 22 June and 9 July, produced several days of moderate heat load conditions. During this hot spell mortality from ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular accidents and respiratory disease all increased substantially. It is suggested that the heat load categories, although rarely attained, would be useful in predicting danger periods during heatwave conditions in the United Kingdom.