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Acclimatization scenarios and early warning system of temperature-related mortality in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ACCLIM (Acclimatization scenarios and early warning system of temperature-related mortality in Europe)

Période du rapport: 2017-10-01 au 2019-09-30

Adaptation strategies have been increasingly implemented in Europe in recent years, and particularly since the record-breaking heat wave of summer 2003, but a systematic comparison of recent trends in heat-attributable vulnerability and mortality among European regions has not been comprehensively addressed at the continental scale.

The research proposed in this project is focused on the study of one of the most challenging and potentially-dangerous impacts of climate in European societies: the mortality associated with environmental temperatures in the current context of global warming. The specific objectives of the action are:
- Aim 1: Characterization of the temperature-mortality relationship.
- Aim 2: Study of the evolution of mortality.
- Aim 3: Description of the impact of adaptation measures.
- Aim 4: Prototype of climate service of temperature-related mortality.
- Aim 5: Communication, dissemination and exploitation of results.

The project sheds light onto the complex role of societal adaptation within the context of global warming and the 2008 expansion-recession cycle. This knowledge is key for decision-making and the design and implementation of strategies minimizing the negative impacts of future warmer temperatures and expansion-recession cycles.
I analysed the impact of summer heat on human health by using a daily mortality database with nearly 60 million counts of death in 147 European regions representing over 400 million people. I first modelled region-specific temperature-mortality associations through a distributed lag nonlinear model, and then I performed a multivariate random-effects meta-analysis to estimate the average temperature-mortality association, both across all the regions in the whole domain, and across all the regions in a given country. I computed the trends in heat-attributable vulnerability and mortality, and characterized their relationship with summer temperature changes and macroeconomic growth.

I observed a generalized decrease in vulnerability in most of Europe, mainly in the Mediterranean countries, but with a few exceptions in eastern and central Europe. Results indicate that, on average, Europe is reducing human vulnerability to heat, but as a result of temperature changes, I did not observe a parallel decrease in overall heat-attributable mortality. I showed for the first time that the trends in summer temperature and relative risk are strongly and significantly associated with the trends of the attributable fraction. I also found that macroeconomic growth is associated with increasing trends in both heat-attributable vulnerability and mortality, and that this relationship is strong and mostly linear for all temperatures during at least the warmest 60-75 days of the year.
My work mounts on previous studies showing the procyclical behaviour of temperature-unrelated mortality, and provides for the first-time comprehensive evidence of the association between macroeconomic growth, climate change and heat-attributable vulnerability and mortality trends. I therefore went beyond the state-of-the-art by showing the impact of macroeconomic growth into the effectiveness of early adaptation strategies addressing the negative health impacts of climate change. As such, my results shed light onto the complex role of societal adaptation within the context of global warming and the 2008 expansion-recession cycle.
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