Temporal Changes in Mortality Related to Extreme Temperatures for 15 Cities in Northeast Asia: Adaptation to Heat and Maladaptation to Cold.

American Journal of Epidemiology

PubMedID: 28444109

Chung Y, Noh H, Honda Y, Hashizume M, Bell ML, Guo YL, Kim H. Temporal Changes in Mortality Related to Extreme Temperatures for 15 Cities in Northeast Asia: Adaptation to Heat and Maladaptation to Cold. Am J Epidemiol. 2017;185(10):907-913.
Understanding how the temperature-mortality association worldwide changes over time is crucial to addressing questions of human adaptation under climate change. Previous studies investigated the temporal changes in the association over a few discrete time frames or assumed a linear change. Also, most studies focused on attenuation of heat-related mortality and studied the United States or Europe. This research examined continuous temporal changes (potentially nonlinear) in mortality related to extreme temperature (both heat and cold) for 15 cities in Northeast Asia (1972-2009). We used a generalized linear model with splines to simultaneously capture 2 types of nonlinearity: nonlinear association between temperature and mortality and nonlinear change over time in the association. We combined city-specific results to generate country-specific results using Bayesian hierarchical modeling. Cold-related mortality remained roughly constant over decades and slightly increased in the late 2000s, with a larger increase for cardiorespiratory deaths than for deaths from other causes. Heat-related mortality rates have decreased continuously over time, with more substantial decrease in earlier decades, for older populations and for cardiorespiratory deaths. Our findings suggest that future assessment of health effects of climate change should account for the continuous changes in temperature-related health risk and variations by factors such as age, cause of death, and location.