International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 61, Issue 12, pp 2127–2140 | Cite as

The effects of hot nights on mortality in Barcelona, Spain

  • D. RoyéEmail author
Original Paper


Heat-related effects on mortality have been widely analyzed using maximum and minimum temperatures as exposure variables. Nevertheless, the main focus is usually on the former with the minimum temperature being limited in use as far as human health effects are concerned. Therefore, new thermal indices were used in this research to describe the duration of night hours with air temperatures higher than the 95% percentile of the minimum temperature (hot night hours) and intensity as the summation of these air temperatures in degrees (hot night degrees). An exposure-response relationship between mortality due to natural, respiratory, and cardiovascular causes and summer night temperatures was assessed using data from the Barcelona region between 2003 and 2013. The non-linear relationship between the exposure and response variables was modeled using a distributed lag non-linear model. The estimated associations for both exposure variables and mortality shows a relationship with high and medium values that persist significantly up to a lag of 1–2 days. In mortality due to natural causes, an increase of 1.1% per 10% (CI95% 0.6–1.5) for hot night hours and 5.8% per each 10° (CI95% 3.5–8.2%) for hot night degrees is observed. The effects of hot night hours reach their maximum with 100% and lead to an increase by 9.2% (CI95% 5.3–13.1%). The hourly description of night heat effects reduced to a single indicator in duration and intensity is a new approach and shows a different perspective and significant heat-related effects on human health.


Heat Mortality Tropical night Hot night Effects Human health Climate change 



The author thanks the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Palynology Laboratory of the Botany Unit of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the Barcelona City Council, and the Health Department of the Government of Catalonia for providing the required data.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GeoBioMet, Department of Geography, Urbanism and Spatial PlanningUniversity of CantabriaSantanderSpain
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaLa CoruñaSpain

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