Development of the Adjusted Wind Chill Equivalent Temperature (AWCET) for cold mortality assessment across a subtropical city: Validation and comparison with a spatially-controlled time-stratified approach

Hung Chak Ho (Corresponding Author), Man Sing Wong (Corresponding Author), Sawaid Abbas, Rui Zhu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Background: Global warming has reduced the adaptability of the people living in subtropical regions to cope up with cold stress due to lengthening of hot days and shortening of transition period from hot to cold weather. However, existing studies on measuring cold stress are based on biometeorological indices designed for temperate regions. This may overestimate the impact of wind chill on mortality risk in subtropical cities. Methods: This study developed an Adjusted Wind Chill Equivalent Temperature (AWCET) index. A spatially-controlled time-stratified approach was applied to evaluate the ability of AWCET for estimating cold mortality in subtropical cities, based on a mortality dataset (2008-2012) in Hong Kong. Results: The use of AWCET could indicate increase in all-cause, cardiovascular, respiratory, and cancer-related mortality risk during the days with average temperature < = 1st [11.0 °C], <= 3rd [12.6 °C] and < = 5th [13.4 °C] percentiles. The results were stable and consistent based on both log-linear and curve-linear relationships between AWCET and mortality risk. AWCET was also compared with the New Wind Chill Equivalent Temperature (NWCET) designed for temperate regions, and has found that higher magnitude of mortality risk would be found when using AWCET for assessing all-cause and cause-specific mortality in Hong Kong, for days with average temperature < = 1st, <= 3rd and < = 5th percentiles. Conclusions: AWCET is validated to be effective to access cold mortality in the context of subtropical cities. The use of AWCET may enhance the cold weather warning system in subtropical cities, as a supplementary tool to help demonstrating small administrative-level perceived temperature with volunteered geographic information.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1290
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2019


  • Biometeorological index
  • Cold stress
  • Mortality assessment
  • Subtropical
  • Wind chill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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