Trends in heat-related mortality in the United States, 1975–2004
- 436 Downloads
This study addresses the long-term trends in heat-related mortality across 29 US metropolitan areas from 1975 to 2004 to discern the spatial patterns and temporal trends in heat vulnerability. Mortality data have been standardized to account for population trends, and seasonal and interannual variability. On days when a city experienced an “oppressive” air mass, mean anomalous mortality was calculated, along with the likelihood that oppressive days led to a mortality response at least one standard deviation above the baseline value. Results show a general decline in heat-related mortality from the 1970s to 1990s, after which the decline seems to have abated. The likelihood of oppressive days leading to significant increases in mortality has shown less of a decline. The number of oppressive days has stayed the same or increased at most metropolitan areas. With US homes near saturation in terms of air-conditioning availability, an aging population is still significantly vulnerable to heat events.
KeywordsHeat watch-warning system Atmospheric hazards Heat-related mortality Trends Heat vulnerability
The authors wish to express their appreciation to the US National Weather Service and Environmental Protection Agency for their continued financial support of our heat/health research; and to the two anonymous reviewers for their prompt and thorough reviews.
- Anderson RN, Rosenberg HM (1998) Age standardization of death rates: implementation of the year 2000 standard. Technical report 47. National Vital Statistics Reports, Hyattsville, MDGoogle Scholar
- Confalonieri U, Menne B, Akhtar R, Ebi KL, Hauengue M, Kovats RS, Revich B, Woodward A (2007) Human health. In: Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (eds) Climate change 2007: impacts adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp 391–431Google Scholar
- Davis RE, Knappenberger PC, Novicoff WM, Michaels PJ (2003) Decadal changes in summer mortality in U.S. cities. Int J Biometeorol 47:166–175Google Scholar
- Kalkstein LS (1998) Climate and human mortality: relationships and mitigating measures. In: Auliciems A (ed) Advances in bioclimatology, vol 5. Springer, New York, pp 161–177Google Scholar
- Klinenberg E (2002) Heat wave: a social autopsy of disaster. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
- Medina-Ramon M, Schwartz J (2007) Temperature, temperature extremes, and mortality: a study of acclimatization and effect modification of 50 US cities. Occup Environ Med 64:827–833Google Scholar
- Meehl GA, Stocker TF, Collins WD, Friedlingstein P, Gaye AT, Gregory JM, Kitoh A, Knutti R, Murphy JM, Noda A, Raper SCB, Watterson IG, Weaver AJ, Zhao Z-C (2007) Global climate projections. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
- Pirard P, Vandentorren S, Pascal M, Laiidi K, Le Tertre A, Cassadou S, Ledrans M (2005) Summary of the mortality impact assessment of the 2003 heat wave in France. Eurosurveillance 10:153–156Google Scholar
- US Census (2008) American Housing Survey. Available: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/ahs/ahs.html. Accessed 26 Aug 2008