Mortality risk of a future heat event across a subtropical city: implications for community planning and health policy

Hung Chak Ho, Ka Ming Wai, Minhao He, Ta Chien Chan, Chengbin Deng, Man Sing Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

In this study, we applied the Weather Research and Forecasting model to project 2050 urban and rural temperature. We applied a time-stratified analysis to compare it with mortality between 2001 and 2014 and between 2011 and 2014, to estimate the elevated risk of a 2050 heat event. We included change in daytime versus nighttime and urban versus rural temperatures as factors to project mortality, to evaluate the potential influence of climate change on mortality risk. Increases of 2.9 °C and 2.6 °C in maximum and minimum air temperature are projected in a 2050 heat event, with a day and a night that will have respective temperatures 9.8 °C and 4.9 °C higher than 2001–2014. Significantly higher mortality risk is forecasted in 2050 compared to 2001–2014 (IRR 1.721 [1.650, 1.796]) and 2011–2014 (IRR 1.622 [1.547, 1.701]) without consideration of temperature change. After consideration of changing temperature, change in maximum temperature in rural areas will induce the highest mortality risk during 2050, possibly due to rapid urbanization across the city, and with the second highest mortality risk induced by the change in minimum temperature in urbanized areas, possibly because local people in the city have been adapted to the maximum level of urban thermal stress during a summer day. Improvements to heat warning systems and sustainable planning protocols are urgently needed for climate change mitigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-637
Number of pages15
JournalNatural Hazards
Volume103
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Community planning
  • Extreme heat
  • Policy implications
  • Projected mortality
  • Urban health risk
  • WRF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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