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Impact of heat on mortality in 15 European cities: attributable deaths under different weather scenarios


Background High ambient summer temperatures have been shown to influence daily mortality in cities across Europe. Quantification of the population mortality burden attributable to heat is crucial to the development of adaptive approaches. The impact of summer heat on mortality for 15 European cities during the 1990s was evaluated, under hypothetical temperature scenarios warmer and cooler than the mean and under future scenarios derived from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES).

Methods A Monte Carlo approach was used to estimate the number of deaths attributable to heat for each city. These estimates rely on the results of a Bayesian random-effects meta-analysis that combines city-specific heat-mortality functions.

Results The number of heat-attributable deaths per summer ranged from 0 in Dublin to 423 in Paris. The mean attributable fraction of deaths was around 2%. The highest impact was in three Mediterranean cities (Barcelona, Rome and Valencia) and in two continental cities (Paris and Budapest). The largest impact was on persons over 75 years; however, in some cities, important proportions of heat-attributable deaths were also found for younger adults. Heat-attributable deaths markedly increased under warming scenarios. The impact under SRES scenarios was slightly lower or comparable to the impact during the observed hottest year.

Conclusions Current high summer ambient temperatures have an important impact on European population health. This impact is expected to increase in the future, according to the projected increase of mean ambient temperatures and frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves.

  • Bayesian
  • climate
  • health impact assessment
  • meta analysis me

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