Natural Hazards

, Volume 80, Issue 1, pp 623–637 | Cite as

Projection of heat wave mortality related to climate change in Korea

  • Do-Woo Kim
  • Ravinesh C. Deo
  • Jea-Hak Chung
  • Jong-Seol Lee
Original Paper


Heat waves associated with climate change are a significant future concern. Although deaths from heat disorders are a direct effect of heat wave incidences, only a few studies have addressed the causal factors between heat wave incidences and deaths from heat disorder. This study applies regression analysis to the time series data in order to deduce the causal factors that affect the number of deaths from heat disorders (NDHD) in Korea using observational dataset from 1994–2012. The duration of a heat wave and the age of the population are highly correlated with the magnitude of the NDHD. Based on this correlation we also analyze heat wave projections to the climate change scenarios produced using the Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model version 3 under the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5) and to the single aging population scenario till 2060. The magnitude of the NDHD is expected to elevate by approximately fivefold under the RCP4.5 and 7.2-fold under the RCP 8.5 scenarios compared to the current baseline value (≈23 people per summer). Of greater concern is that the steady death rate increase is expected to be intercepted by the more severe events in future compared to the present period. Under both RCP scenarios considered, the extreme cases are projected to eventuate around the 2050s with approximately 250 deaths. We find that in spite of the greenhouse gas policy proposed to meet reductions under the RCP 4.5 scenario; serious heat wave damage in terms of human mortality may still be unavoidable in Korea.


Heat waves projection in Korea RCP 4.5 and 8.5 Heat deaths Heat wave trends 



Aging ratio


Artificial neural network


Standardized coefficient




Maximum duration of heat wave days


Daily maximum temperature


Hadley Centre Global Environmental Model 3


Mean Squared Error


Modified Korean-Parameter-elevation Regressions an Independent Slopes Model


Mean square error


Mean of maximum temperature


Number of deaths from heat disorders


Number of heat wave days

p value

Probability value


Coefficient of determination


Representative concentration pathway 4.5


Representative concentration pathway 8.5


Support vector regressions



This research was primarily supported by the National Disaster Management Institute (Korea). Also, Dr RC Deo held a ‘RAIS’ Grant from the Academic Division (University of Southern Queensland) that assisted in the collaboration with Dr Do-Woo Kim (Korea).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Do-Woo Kim
    • 1
  • Ravinesh C. Deo
    • 2
  • Jea-Hak Chung
    • 1
  • Jong-Seol Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.National Disaster Management InstituteSeoulKorea
  2. 2.School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences, International Centre for Applied Climate Sciences (ICACS)University of Southern QueenslandSpringfieldAustralia

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