Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 105, Issue 1–2, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Human biometeorological evaluation of heat-related mortality in Vienna

  • Andreas MatzarakisEmail author
  • Stefan Muthers
  • Elisabeth Koch
Original Paper


The relationship between heat stress and mortality in the federal state of Vienna (Austria) was analyzed from 1970 to 2007. Long-term trends of mortality data and short-term adaptation to heat stress were considered by two complex approaches. The evaluation is based on the human biometeorological parameter, physiologically equivalent temperature. The results revealed a significant impact of heat stress on the human health, with a significantly higher sensitivity on women compared to men. Additionally, higher risks of deaths due to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases were found. During the long period of 38 years, some significant decreases of the sensitivity were found, especially in the medium heat stress levels. This could indicate active processes of long-term adaptation to the increasing heat stress.


Heat Stress Heat Wave Relative Mortality Physiologically Equivalent Temperature Heat Wave Effect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research for funding this study. Thanks to Ivy Shiue for proofreading the manuscript.


  1. Barnett AG (2007) Temperature and cardiovascular deaths in the US elderly: changes over time. Epidemiology 18:369–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Böhm R (2009) Geändertes Umfeld durch Klimawandel?/Modified environment due to climate change? Wildbach- und Lawinenverbau 163:34–50Google Scholar
  3. Braga F, Zanobetti A, Schwartz J (2001) The time course of weather-related deaths. Epidemiology 12:662–667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chau P, Chan K, Woo J (2009) Hot weather warning might help to reduce elderly mortality in Hong Kong. Int J Biometeorol 53:461–468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cleveland WS, Devlin SJ (1988) Locally weighted regression: an approach to regression analysis by local fitting. J Am Stat Assoc 83:596–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Davis RE, Knappenberger PC, Michaels PJ, Novicoff WM (2003) Changing heat-related mortality in the United States. Environ Health Perspect 111:1712–1718CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Díaz J, García R, de Castro VF, Hernández E, López C, Otero A (2002) Effects of extremely hot days on people older than 65 years in Seville (Spain) from 1986 to 1997. Int J Biometeorol 46:145–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Díaz J, García-Herrera R, Trigo RM, Linares C, Valente MA, De Miguel JM, Hernández E (2006) The impact of the summer 2003 heat wave in Iberia: how should we measure it? Int J Biometeorol 50:159–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Donaldson GC, Keatinge WR (2008) Direct effects of rising temperatures on mortality in the UK. In: Kovats RS (ed) Health effects of climate change in the UK 2008: an update of the Department of Health report 2001/2002. Department of Health, UK, pp 81–90Google Scholar
  10. Donaldson GC, Keatinge WR, Nayha S (2003) Changes in summer temperature and heat-related mortality since 1971 in North Carolina, South Finland, and Southeast England. Environ Res 91:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Flynn A, McGreevy C, Mulkerrin EC (2005) Why do older patients die in a heat wave. Int J Med 98:227–229Google Scholar
  12. Fouillet A, Rey G, Wagner V, Laaidi K, Empereur-Bissonnet P, Le Tertre A, Frayssinet P, Bessemoulin P, Laurent F, De Crouy-Chanel P, Jougla E, Hémon D (2008) Has the impact of heat waves on mortality changed in France since the European heat wave of summer 2003? A study of the 2006 heat wave. Environ Epidemiol 37:309–317Google Scholar
  13. Gisser R (2005) Recent demographic trends in Austria until 2004. In: Vienna yearbook of population research. Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna, pp. 237–242Google Scholar
  14. Gosling SN, McGregor GR, Páldy A (2007) Climate change and heat-related mortality in six cities part 1: model construction and validation. Int J Biometeorol 51:525–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grass D, Cane M (2008) The effects of weather and air pollution on cardiovascular and respiratory mortality in Santiago, Chile, during the winters of 1988–1996. Int J Climatol 28:1113–1126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hajat S, Kovats RS, Atkinson RW, Haines A (2002) Impact of hot temperatures on death in London: a time series approach. J Epidemiol Commun H 56:367–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hajat S, Kovats RS, Lachowycz K (2007) Heat-related and cold-related deaths in England and Wales: who is at risk? Occup Environ Med 64:93–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Helsel DR, Hirsch RM (2002) Statistical methods in water resources. U.S. Geological Survey, techniques of water-resources investigations book 4, chapter A3. Accessed 16 June 2009
  19. Heudorf U, Meyer C (2005) Gesundheitliche Auswirkungen extremer Hitze—am Beispiel der Hitzewelle und der Mortalität in Frankfurt am Main im August 2003. Gesundheitswesen 67:369–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Höppe P (1984) Die Energiebilanz des Menschen. Münchener Universitätsschriften, Meteorol. Inst., Wiss. Mitt. 49Google Scholar
  21. Höppe P (1993) Heat balance modelling. Experientia 49:741–746CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hutter H, Moshammer H, Wallner P, Leitner B, Kundi M (2007) Heatwaves in Vienna: effects on mortality. Wien Klin Wochenschr 119:223–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Iñiguez C, Ballester F, Ferrandiz J, Pérez-Hoyos S, Sáez M, López A (2010) Relation between temperature and mortality in thirteen Spanish cities. Int J Environ Res Public Health 7:3196–3210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jendritzky G (1990) Methodik zur räumlichen Bewertung der thermischen Komponente im Bioklima des Menschen—Fortgeschriebenes Klima-Michel-Modell. Beitr Akad f Raumforsch u Landschaftspl 114:7–69Google Scholar
  25. Jendritzky G, Sönning W, Swantes HJ (1979) Ein objektives Bewertungsverfahren zur Beschreibung des thermischen Milieus in der Stadt- und Landschaftsplanung (“Klima-Michel-Modell”). Beitr Akad f Raumforsch u Landschaftspl 28:1–85Google Scholar
  26. Kalkstein LS, Smoyer KE (1993) The impact of climate change on human health: some international implications. Cell Mol Life Sci 49:969–979CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Keatinge WR (2002) Winter mortality and its causes. Int J Circumpolar Health 61:292–299Google Scholar
  28. Keatinge WR, Donaldson GC, Cordiolo E, Martinelli M, Kunst AE, Mackenback JP, Nayha S, Vuori I (2000) Heat-related mortality in warm and cold regions of Europe: observational study. Brit Med J 321:670–673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Koppe C (2005) Gesundheitsrelevante Bewertung von thermischer Belastung unter Berücksichtigung der kurzfristigen Anpassung der Bevölkerung an die lokalen Witterungsverhältnisse. Dissertation, Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg (Germany)Google Scholar
  30. Koppe C, Becker P (2009) Comparison of operational heat health warning systems in Europe. In: Matthies F, Menne B (eds) Preparedness and response to heat waves in Europe, from evidence to action. Public health response to extreme weather events. WHO Regional Office for Europe, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  31. Koppe C, Jendritzky G (2005) Inclusion of short-term adaptation to thermal stresses in a heat load warning procedure. Meteorol Z 14:271–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Koppe C, Jendritzky G, Pfaff G (2003) Die Auswirkungen der Hitzewelle 2003 auf die Gesundheit. DWD Klimastatusbericht 2003:152–162Google Scholar
  33. Kovats S, Shakoor H (2008) Heat stress and public health: a critical review. Annu Rev Public Health 29:41–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Laaidi M, Laaidi K, Besancenot J (2006) Temperature-related mortality in France, a comparison between regions with different climates from the perspective of global warming. Int J Biometeorol 51:145–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lin T, Matzarakis A, Hwang R (2010) Shading effect on long-term outdoor thermal comfort. Build Environ 45:213–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Matzarakis A, Mayer H (1996) Another kind of environmental stress: thermal stress. WHO Newsletter 18:7–10Google Scholar
  37. Matzarakis A, Rutz F, Mayer H (2007) Modelling radiation fluxes in simple and complex environments—application of the RayMan model. Int J Biometeorol 51:323–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Matzarakis A, Rutz F, Mayer H (2010) Modelling radiation fluxes in simple and complex environments: basics of the RayMan model. Int J Biometeorol 54:131–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mayer H, Höppe P (1987) Thermal comfort of man in different urban environments. Theor Appl Climatol 38:43–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Muggeo VM, Hajat S (2009) Modelling the non-linear multiple-lag effects of ambient temperature on mortality in Santiago and Palermo: a constrained segmented distributed lag approach. Occup Environ Med 66:584–591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Muthers S, Matzarakis A, Koch E (2010a) Summer climate and mortality in Vienna—a human-biometeorological approach of heat related mortality during the heat waves in 2003. Wien Klin Wochenschr 122:525–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Muthers S, Matzarakis A, Koch E (2010b) Climate change and mortality in Vienna—a human biometeorological analysis based on regional climate modeling. Int J Environ Res Public Health 7:2965–2977CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nastos PT, Matzarakis A (2008) Human-biometeorological effects on sleep disturbances in Athens, Greece: a preliminary evaluation. Indoor Built Environ 17:535–542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. O’Neill M, Hajat S, Zanobetti A, Ramirez-Aguilar M, Schwartz J (2005) Impact of control for air pollution and respiratory epidemics on the estimated associations of temperature and daily mortality. Int J Biometeorol 50:121–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pascal M, Laaidi K, Ledrans M, Baffert E, Caserio-Schönemann C, Le Tertre A, Manach J, Medina S, Rudant J, Empereur-Bissonnet P (2006) France’s heat health watch warning system. Int J Biometeorol 50:144–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Robine JM, Cheung SL, Le Roy S, Van Oyen H, Herrmann FR (2007) Report on excess mortality in Europe during summer 2003. EU Community Action Programme for Public Health: Grant Agreement 2005114Google Scholar
  47. Statistik Austria (2009). Bevölkerungsvorausschätzung 2008–2050. Statistik AustriaGoogle Scholar
  48. Tan J, Zheng Y, Tang X, Guo C, Li L, Song G, Zhen X, Yuan D, Kalkstein A, Chen H (2007) Heat wave impacts on mortality in Shanghai, 1998 and 2003. Int J Biometeorol 51:193–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. WHO (2003) The health impacts of 2003 summer heat waves—Briefing note for the Delegations of the 53rd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, 8 Sept 2003, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  50. WHO (2004) Heat-waves: risks and responses. World Health Organization, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Matzarakis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stefan Muthers
    • 1
  • Elisabeth Koch
    • 2
  1. 1.Meteorological InstituteAlbert-Ludwigs-University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Central Institute for Meteorology and GeodynamicsViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations