Cold-related mortality vs heat-related mortality in a changing climate: A case study in Vilnius (Lithuania)

Gerardo Sanchez Martinez*, Julio Diaz, Hans Hooyberghs, Dirk Lauwaet, Koen De Ridder, Cristina Linares, Rocio Carmona, Cristina Ortiz, Vladimir Kendrovski, Dovile Adamonyte

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Introduction
    Direct health effects of extreme temperatures are a significant environmental health problem in Lithuania, and could worsen further under climate change. This paper attempts to describe the change in environmental temperature conditions that the urban population of Vilnius could experience under climate change, and the effects such change could have on excess heat-related and cold-related mortality in two future periods within the 21st century.

    Methods
    We modelled the urban climate of Vilnius for the summer and winter seasons during a sample period (2009–2015) and projected summertime and wintertime daily temperatures for two prospective periods, one in the near (2030–2045) and one in the far future (2085–2100), under the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5. We then analysed the historical relationship between temperature and mortality for the period 2009–2015, and estimated the projected mortality in the near future and far future periods under a changing climate and population, assuming alternatively no acclimatisation and acclimatisation to heat and cold based on a constant-percentile threshold temperature.

    Results
    During the sample period 2009–2015 in summertime we observed an increase in daily mortality from a maximum daily temperature of 30 °C (the 96th percentile of the series), with an average of around 7 deaths per year. Under a no acclimatisation scenario, annual average heat-related mortality would rise to 24 deaths/year (95% CI: 8.4–38.4) in the near future and to 46 deaths/year (95% CI: 16.4–74.4) in the far future. Under a heat acclimatisation scenario, mortality would not increase significantly in the near or in the far future. Regarding wintertime cold-related mortality in the sample period 2009–2015, we observed increased mortality on days on which the minimum daily temperature fell below − 12 °C (the 7th percentile of the series), with an average of around 10 deaths a year. Keeping the threshold temperature constant, annual average cold-related mortality would decrease markedly in the near future, to 5 deaths/year (95% CI: 0.8–7.9) and even more in the far future, down to 0.44 deaths/year (95% C: 0.1–0.8). Assuming a “middle ground” between the acclimatisation and non-acclimatisation scenarios, the decrease in cold-related mortality will not compensate the increase in heat-related mortality.

    Conclusion
    Thermal extremes, both heat and cold, constitute a serious public health threat in Vilnius, and in a changing climate the decrease in mortality attributable to cold will not compensate for the increase in mortality attributable to heat. Study results reinforce the notion that public health prevention against thermal extremes should be designed as a dynamic, adaptive process from the inception.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEnvironmental Research
    Volume166
    Pages (from-to)384-393
    Number of pages10
    ISSN0013-9351
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Keywords

    • Vilnius
    • Heat-related mortality
    • Cold-related mortality
    • Climate change

    Cite this

    Sanchez Martinez, Gerardo ; Diaz, Julio ; Hooyberghs, Hans ; Lauwaet, Dirk ; De Ridder, Koen ; Linares, Cristina ; Carmona, Rocio ; Ortiz, Cristina ; Kendrovski, Vladimir ; Adamonyte, Dovile. / Cold-related mortality vs heat-related mortality in a changing climate: A case study in Vilnius (Lithuania). In: Environmental Research. 2018 ; Vol. 166. pp. 384-393.
    @article{3a5863c0960e44bf8ebe0eba5f751076,
    title = "Cold-related mortality vs heat-related mortality in a changing climate: A case study in Vilnius (Lithuania)",
    abstract = "IntroductionDirect health effects of extreme temperatures are a significant environmental health problem in Lithuania, and could worsen further under climate change. This paper attempts to describe the change in environmental temperature conditions that the urban population of Vilnius could experience under climate change, and the effects such change could have on excess heat-related and cold-related mortality in two future periods within the 21st century.MethodsWe modelled the urban climate of Vilnius for the summer and winter seasons during a sample period (2009–2015) and projected summertime and wintertime daily temperatures for two prospective periods, one in the near (2030–2045) and one in the far future (2085–2100), under the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5. We then analysed the historical relationship between temperature and mortality for the period 2009–2015, and estimated the projected mortality in the near future and far future periods under a changing climate and population, assuming alternatively no acclimatisation and acclimatisation to heat and cold based on a constant-percentile threshold temperature.ResultsDuring the sample period 2009–2015 in summertime we observed an increase in daily mortality from a maximum daily temperature of 30 °C (the 96th percentile of the series), with an average of around 7 deaths per year. Under a no acclimatisation scenario, annual average heat-related mortality would rise to 24 deaths/year (95{\%} CI: 8.4–38.4) in the near future and to 46 deaths/year (95{\%} CI: 16.4–74.4) in the far future. Under a heat acclimatisation scenario, mortality would not increase significantly in the near or in the far future. Regarding wintertime cold-related mortality in the sample period 2009–2015, we observed increased mortality on days on which the minimum daily temperature fell below − 12 °C (the 7th percentile of the series), with an average of around 10 deaths a year. Keeping the threshold temperature constant, annual average cold-related mortality would decrease markedly in the near future, to 5 deaths/year (95{\%} CI: 0.8–7.9) and even more in the far future, down to 0.44 deaths/year (95{\%} C: 0.1–0.8). Assuming a “middle ground” between the acclimatisation and non-acclimatisation scenarios, the decrease in cold-related mortality will not compensate the increase in heat-related mortality.ConclusionThermal extremes, both heat and cold, constitute a serious public health threat in Vilnius, and in a changing climate the decrease in mortality attributable to cold will not compensate for the increase in mortality attributable to heat. Study results reinforce the notion that public health prevention against thermal extremes should be designed as a dynamic, adaptive process from the inception.",
    keywords = "Vilnius, Heat-related mortality, Cold-related mortality, Climate change",
    author = "{Sanchez Martinez}, Gerardo and Julio Diaz and Hans Hooyberghs and Dirk Lauwaet and {De Ridder}, Koen and Cristina Linares and Rocio Carmona and Cristina Ortiz and Vladimir Kendrovski and Dovile Adamonyte",
    year = "2018",
    doi = "10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.001",
    language = "English",
    volume = "166",
    pages = "384--393",
    journal = "Environmental Research",
    issn = "0013-9351",
    publisher = "Academic Press",

    }

    Sanchez Martinez, G, Diaz, J, Hooyberghs, H, Lauwaet, D, De Ridder, K, Linares, C, Carmona, R, Ortiz, C, Kendrovski, V & Adamonyte, D 2018, 'Cold-related mortality vs heat-related mortality in a changing climate: A case study in Vilnius (Lithuania)', Environmental Research, vol. 166, pp. 384-393. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.001

    Cold-related mortality vs heat-related mortality in a changing climate: A case study in Vilnius (Lithuania). / Sanchez Martinez, Gerardo; Diaz, Julio; Hooyberghs, Hans; Lauwaet, Dirk; De Ridder, Koen; Linares, Cristina; Carmona, Rocio; Ortiz, Cristina; Kendrovski, Vladimir; Adamonyte, Dovile.

    In: Environmental Research, Vol. 166, 2018, p. 384-393.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Cold-related mortality vs heat-related mortality in a changing climate: A case study in Vilnius (Lithuania)

    AU - Sanchez Martinez, Gerardo

    AU - Diaz, Julio

    AU - Hooyberghs, Hans

    AU - Lauwaet, Dirk

    AU - De Ridder, Koen

    AU - Linares, Cristina

    AU - Carmona, Rocio

    AU - Ortiz, Cristina

    AU - Kendrovski, Vladimir

    AU - Adamonyte, Dovile

    PY - 2018

    Y1 - 2018

    N2 - IntroductionDirect health effects of extreme temperatures are a significant environmental health problem in Lithuania, and could worsen further under climate change. This paper attempts to describe the change in environmental temperature conditions that the urban population of Vilnius could experience under climate change, and the effects such change could have on excess heat-related and cold-related mortality in two future periods within the 21st century.MethodsWe modelled the urban climate of Vilnius for the summer and winter seasons during a sample period (2009–2015) and projected summertime and wintertime daily temperatures for two prospective periods, one in the near (2030–2045) and one in the far future (2085–2100), under the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5. We then analysed the historical relationship between temperature and mortality for the period 2009–2015, and estimated the projected mortality in the near future and far future periods under a changing climate and population, assuming alternatively no acclimatisation and acclimatisation to heat and cold based on a constant-percentile threshold temperature.ResultsDuring the sample period 2009–2015 in summertime we observed an increase in daily mortality from a maximum daily temperature of 30 °C (the 96th percentile of the series), with an average of around 7 deaths per year. Under a no acclimatisation scenario, annual average heat-related mortality would rise to 24 deaths/year (95% CI: 8.4–38.4) in the near future and to 46 deaths/year (95% CI: 16.4–74.4) in the far future. Under a heat acclimatisation scenario, mortality would not increase significantly in the near or in the far future. Regarding wintertime cold-related mortality in the sample period 2009–2015, we observed increased mortality on days on which the minimum daily temperature fell below − 12 °C (the 7th percentile of the series), with an average of around 10 deaths a year. Keeping the threshold temperature constant, annual average cold-related mortality would decrease markedly in the near future, to 5 deaths/year (95% CI: 0.8–7.9) and even more in the far future, down to 0.44 deaths/year (95% C: 0.1–0.8). Assuming a “middle ground” between the acclimatisation and non-acclimatisation scenarios, the decrease in cold-related mortality will not compensate the increase in heat-related mortality.ConclusionThermal extremes, both heat and cold, constitute a serious public health threat in Vilnius, and in a changing climate the decrease in mortality attributable to cold will not compensate for the increase in mortality attributable to heat. Study results reinforce the notion that public health prevention against thermal extremes should be designed as a dynamic, adaptive process from the inception.

    AB - IntroductionDirect health effects of extreme temperatures are a significant environmental health problem in Lithuania, and could worsen further under climate change. This paper attempts to describe the change in environmental temperature conditions that the urban population of Vilnius could experience under climate change, and the effects such change could have on excess heat-related and cold-related mortality in two future periods within the 21st century.MethodsWe modelled the urban climate of Vilnius for the summer and winter seasons during a sample period (2009–2015) and projected summertime and wintertime daily temperatures for two prospective periods, one in the near (2030–2045) and one in the far future (2085–2100), under the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5. We then analysed the historical relationship between temperature and mortality for the period 2009–2015, and estimated the projected mortality in the near future and far future periods under a changing climate and population, assuming alternatively no acclimatisation and acclimatisation to heat and cold based on a constant-percentile threshold temperature.ResultsDuring the sample period 2009–2015 in summertime we observed an increase in daily mortality from a maximum daily temperature of 30 °C (the 96th percentile of the series), with an average of around 7 deaths per year. Under a no acclimatisation scenario, annual average heat-related mortality would rise to 24 deaths/year (95% CI: 8.4–38.4) in the near future and to 46 deaths/year (95% CI: 16.4–74.4) in the far future. Under a heat acclimatisation scenario, mortality would not increase significantly in the near or in the far future. Regarding wintertime cold-related mortality in the sample period 2009–2015, we observed increased mortality on days on which the minimum daily temperature fell below − 12 °C (the 7th percentile of the series), with an average of around 10 deaths a year. Keeping the threshold temperature constant, annual average cold-related mortality would decrease markedly in the near future, to 5 deaths/year (95% CI: 0.8–7.9) and even more in the far future, down to 0.44 deaths/year (95% C: 0.1–0.8). Assuming a “middle ground” between the acclimatisation and non-acclimatisation scenarios, the decrease in cold-related mortality will not compensate the increase in heat-related mortality.ConclusionThermal extremes, both heat and cold, constitute a serious public health threat in Vilnius, and in a changing climate the decrease in mortality attributable to cold will not compensate for the increase in mortality attributable to heat. Study results reinforce the notion that public health prevention against thermal extremes should be designed as a dynamic, adaptive process from the inception.

    KW - Vilnius

    KW - Heat-related mortality

    KW - Cold-related mortality

    KW - Climate change

    U2 - 10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.001

    DO - 10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.001

    M3 - Journal article

    VL - 166

    SP - 384

    EP - 393

    JO - Environmental Research

    JF - Environmental Research

    SN - 0013-9351

    ER -