Climatic Change

, Volume 150, Issue 3–4, pp 343–375 | Cite as

Measuring temperature-related mortality using endogenously determined thresholds

  • Thomas LongdenEmail author


Heat-related mortality tends to be associated with heatwaves that do not allow for sufficient acclimatisation to hot temperatures. In contrast, damage functions and most heatwave emergency response plans do not account for acclimatisation. Using an excess heat measure that accounts for acclimatisation, this paper produces estimates of temperature-related mortality for the five largest Australian capital cities. Fixed effects panel threshold regressions are applied to establish the thresholds that coincide with heightened mortality during extreme temperature events. The estimated parameters associated with these thresholds are then used to develop hindcast estimates for cold temperatures, moderate temperatures, hot temperatures and extreme heat. The estimated thresholds coincide with a notable impact of hot temperatures on mortality, but a limited cold temperature impact. This shows that the burden of risk associated with mortality related to future temperatures and climate change within Australia coincides with heatwaves rather than coldwaves. This is in contrast to recent studies that found that cold temperature-related mortality within Australian capital cities has and will continue to be notable. These studies also found a net benefit from climate change in Australia due to reduced cold temperature deaths.

JEL classification

I10 Q54 C24 C5 


  1. ABS (2010) 1216.0.55.003 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard: Design of the Statistical Areas Level 4, Capital Cities and Statistical Areas Level 3, May 2010Google Scholar
  2. ABS (2016) Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3302.0)Google Scholar
  3. ABS (2018) Estimated Residental Population by SA2 (ASGS 2016). ABS StatGoogle Scholar
  4. Ackerman F, Stanton EA (2008) A comment on “economy-wide estimates of the implications of climate change: human health”. Ecol Econ 66:8–13. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Allen MJ, Sheridan SC (2018) Mortality risks during extreme temperature events (ETEs) using a distributed lag non-linear model. Int J Biometeorol 62:57–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Analitis A et al (2008) Effects of cold weather on mortality: results from 15 European cities within the PHEWE project. Am J Epidemiol 168:1397–1408. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Anderson BG, Bell ML (2009) Weather-related mortality: how heat, cold, and heat waves affect mortality in the United States. Epidemiology 20:205–213. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Armstrong B et al (2017) Longer-term impact of high and low temperature on mortality: an international study to clarify length of mortality displacement. Environ Health Perspect 125:107009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Australian Associated Press (2015) Extreme heat warning for South Australia, with temperatures hitting 42C. Accessed 6 Jul 2018
  10. Baccini M et al (2008) Heat effects on mortality in 15 European cities. Epidemiology 19:711–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Benmarhnia T et al (2016) A difference-in-differences approach to assess the effect of a heat action plan on heat-related mortality, and differences in effectiveness according to sex, age, and socioeconomic status (Montreal, Quebec). Environ Health Perspect 124:1694–1699. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. BOM (2009) The exceptional January–February 2009 heatwave in south-eastern Australia. Accessed 6 Jul 2018
  13. Bosello F et al (2006) Economy-wide estimates of the implications of climate change: human health. Ecol Econ 58:579–591. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bouchama A (2004) The 2003 European heat wave Intensive Care Med 30. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Braga ALF et al (2001) The time course of weather-related deaths. Epidemiology 12:662–667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. D’Ippoliti D et al (2010) The impact of heat waves on mortality in 9 European cities: results from the EuroHEAT project. Environ Health 9:37. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dang TN et al (2016) Characterizing the relationship between temperature and mortality in tropical and subtropical cities: a distributed lag non-linear model analysis in Hue, Viet Nam, 2009–2013. Glob Health Action 9:1. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Davis RE et al (2003) Changing heat-related mortality in the United States. Environ Health Perspect 111:1712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Díaz J et al (2015) Comparison of the effects of extreme temperatures on daily mortality in Madrid (Spain), by age group: the need for a cold wave prevention plan. Environ Res 143(Part A):186–191. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gasparrini A et al (2015) Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study. Lancet 386:369–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gasparrini A et al (2017) Projections of temperature-related excess mortality under climate change scenarios. Lancet Planetary Health 1:e360–e367. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gosling SN et al (2009) Associations between elevated atmospheric temperature and human mortality: a critical review of the literature. Clim Chang 92:299–341. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gosling SN et al (2017) Adaptation to climate change: a comparative analysis of modelling methods for heat-related mortality. Environ Health Perspect 125. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gronlund CJ et al (2016) Vulnerability to renal, heat and respiratory hospitalizations during extreme heat among U.S. elderly. Clim Chang 136:631–645. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Guo Y et al (2014) Global variation in the effects of ambient temperature on mortality: a systematic evaluation. Epidemiology 25:781–789. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Guo Y et al (2016) Projecting future temperature-related mortality in three largest Australian cities. Environ Pollut 208:66–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hajat S et al (2005) Mortality displacement of heat-related deaths: a comparison of Delhi, Sao Paulo, and London. Epidemiology 16:613–620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hansen BE (1999) Threshold effects in non-dynamic panels: estimation, testing, and inference. J Econ 93:345–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hatvani-Kovacs G et al (2016) Can the excess heat factor indicate heatwave-related morbidity? A case study in Adelaide, South Australia. EcoHealth 13:100–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Huber V et al (2017) Cold-and heat-related mortality: a cautionary note on current damage functions with net benefits from climate change. Clim Chang 142:407–418. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jegasothy E et al (2017) Extreme climatic conditions and health service utilisation across rural and metropolitan New South Wales. Int J Biometeorol 61:1359–1370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kaiser R et al (2007) The effect of the 1995 heat wave in Chicago on all-cause and cause-specific mortality. Am J Public Health 97:S158–S162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kinney PL et al (2008) Approaches for estimating effects of climate change on heat-related deaths: challenges and opportunities. Environ Sci Pol 11:87–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Langlois N et al (2013) Using the excess heat factor (EHF) to predict the risk of heat related deaths. J Forensic Legal Med 20:408–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Le Tertre A et al (2006) Impact of the 2003 heatwave on all-cause mortality in 9 French cities. Epidemiology 17:75–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Loridan T et al (2016) The excess heat factor as a metric for heat-related fatalities: defining heatwave risk categories. AJEM 31:31–37. Accessed 6 Jul 2018
  37. Martens WJ (1998) Climate change, thermal stress and mortality changes. Soc Sci Med 46:331–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Montero JC et al (2010) Mortality from cold waves in castile — La Mancha, Spain. Sci Total Environ 408:5768–5774. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nairn J, Fawcett R (2015) The excess heat factor: a metric for heatwave intensity and its use in classifying heatwave severity. Int J Environ Res Public Health 12:227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nairn JR et al. (2013) Defining heatwaves: heatwave defined as a heat-impact event servicing all community and business sectors in Australia. Centre for Australian Weather and Climate ResearchGoogle Scholar
  41. Nitschke M et al (2016) Evaluation of a heat warning system in Adelaide, South Australia, using case-series analysis. BMJ Open 6:e012125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Piticar A et al (2018) Recent changes in heat waves and cold waves detected based on excess heat factor and excess cold factor in Romania. Int J Climatol 38:1777–1793CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Qiao Z et al (2015) Assessment of short-and long-term mortality displacement in heat-related deaths in Brisbane, Australia, 1996–2004. Environ Health Perspect 123:766–772. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rocklöv J et al (2009) Winter mortality modifies the heat-mortality association the following summer. Eur Respir J 33:245–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Roson R, Van der Mensbrugghe D (2012) Climate change and economic growth: impacts and interactions. Int J Sust Econ 4:270–285Google Scholar
  46. Saha MV et al (2013) Mortality displacement as a function of heat event strength in 7 US cities. Am J Epidemiol 179:467–474. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Scalley BD et al (2015) Responding to heatwave intensity: excess heat factor is a superior predictor of health service utilisation and a trigger for heatwave plans. Aust N Z J Public Health 39:582–587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Smith KR et al (2014) Human health: impacts, adaptation, and co-benefits. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 709–754Google Scholar
  49. Tol RSJ (2002a) Estimates of the damage costs of climate change. part I: benchmark estimates. Environ Resour Econ 21:47–73. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tol RSJ (2002b) Estimates of the damage costs of climate change, part II. dynamic estimates. Environ Resour Econ 21:135–160. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tol RSJ (2013) The economic impact of climate change in the 20th and 21st centuries. Clim Chang 117:795–808. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Toulemon L, Barbieri M (2008) The mortality impact of the August 2003 heat wave in France: investigating the ‘harvesting’ effect and other long-term consequences. Popul Stud 62:39–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Vict. Dept. of Health (2014) The health impacts of the January 2014 heatwave in Victoria. Accessed 6 Jul 2018
  54. Wahlquist C (2015) Melbourne braces for heatwave as temperatures could hit 40C on Saturday. Accessed 6 Jul 2018
  55. Wang Q (2015) Fixed-effect panel threshold model using Stata. Stata J 15:121–134Google Scholar
  56. Wang Y et al (2016) Estimating and projecting the effect of cold waves on mortality in 209 US cities. Environ Int 94:141–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Yardley J et al (2011) Heat health planning: the importance of social and community factors. Glob Environ Chang 21:670–679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Yu W et al (2011) Assessing the relationship between global warming and mortality: lag effects of temperature fluctuations by age and mortality categories. Environ Pollut 159:1789–1793CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Health Economics Research and EvaluationUniversity of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia

Personalised recommendations