International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 85–96 | Cite as

Climate change epidemiology: methodological challenges

  • Wei W. Xun
  • Aneire E. Khan
  • Edwin Michael
  • Paolo Vineis


Climate change is now thought to be unequivocal, while its potential effects on global and public health cannot be ignored. However, the complexities of the causal webs, the dynamics of the interactions and unpredictability mean that climate change presents new challenges to epidemiology and magnifies existing methodological problems. This article reviews a number of such challenges, including topics such as exposure assessment, bias, confounding, causal complexities and uncertainties, with examples and recommendations provided where appropriate. Hence, epidemiology must continue to adapt by developing new approaches and the integration of other disciplines such as geography and climatology, with an emphasis on informing policy-making and disseminating knowledge beyond the field.


Climate change Epidemiology Methodology Bias Confounding 



This research has been made possible by a contribution of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change to Aneire Khan.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei W. Xun
    • 1
  • Aneire E. Khan
    • 1
  • Edwin Michael
    • 1
  • Paolo Vineis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthImperial College London, St Mary’s CampusLondonUK

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