Analysis of vulnerability to heat in rural and urban areas in Spain: What factors explain Heat's geographic behavior?

J. A. López-Bueno*, M. A. Navas-Martín, J. Díaz, I. J. Mirón, M. Y. Luna, G. Sánchez-Martínez, D. Culqui, C. Linares

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: There is currently little knowledge and few published works on the subject of vulnerability to heat in rural environments at the country level. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine whether rural areas are more vulnerable to extreme heat than urban areas in Spain. This study aimed to analyze whether a pattern of vulnerability depends on contextual, environmental, demographic, economic and housing variables.
Methods:
An ecological, longitudinal and retrospective study was carried out based on time series data between January 01, 2000 and December 31, 2013 in 42 geographic areas in 10 provinces in Spain. We first analyzed the functional relationship between the mortality rate per million inhabitants and maximum daily temperature (Tmax). We then determined the summer temperature threshold (Pthreshold) (June-September) at which increases in mortality are produced that are attributable to heat. In a second phase, based on Pthreshold, a vulnerability variable was calculated, and its distribution was analyzed using mixed linear models from the Poisson family (link = log). In these models, the dependent variable was vulnerability, and the independent variables were exposure to high temperatures, aridity of the climate, deprivation index, percentage of people over age 65, rurality index, percentage of housing built prior to 1980 and condition of dwellings. Results: Rurality was a protective factor, and vulnerability in urban areas was six times greater. In contrast, risk factors included aridity (RR = 5.89 (2.26 15.36)), living in cool summer zones (2.69 (1.23, 5.91)), poverty (4.05 (1.91 8.59)) and the percentage of dysfunctional housing (1.13 (1.04 1.24)).
Conclusions: Rural areas are less vulnerable to extreme heat than the urban areas analyzed. Also, population groups with worse working conditions and higher percentages of dwellings in poor conditions are more vulnerable.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112213
JournalEnvironmental Research
Number of pages11
ISSN0013-9351
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Heat waves
  • Poverty
  • Urban
  • Rural
  • Vulnerability

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