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Climate change, thermal stress and mortality changes


  • Martens, W. J. M.


One of the potential effects of an anthropogenically induced climate change is a change in mortality related to thermal stress. In this paper, existing literature on the relationship between average temperatures and mortality is evaluated. By means of a simple meta-analysis an aggregated effect of a change in temperature on mortality is estimated for total, cardiovascular and respiratory mortality. These effect estimates are combined with projections of changes in baseline climate conditions of 20 cities, according to climate change scenarios of three General Circulation Models (GCMs). The results indicate that for most of the cities included, global climate change is likely to lead to a reduction in mortality rates due to decreasing winter mortality. This effect is most pronounced for cardiovascular mortality in elderly people in cities which experience temperate or cold climates at present. The sensitivity of the results to physiological and socio-economical adaptation is examined. However, more research is necessary to extend this work by inclusion of data from a wider range of populations.

Suggested Citation

  • Martens, W. J. M., 1998. "Climate change, thermal stress and mortality changes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 331-344, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:46:y:1998:i:3:p:331-344

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    Cited by:

    1. Bosello, Francesco & Roson, Roberto & Tol, Richard S.J., 2006. "Economy-wide estimates of the implications of climate change: Human health," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 579-591, June.
    2. Baulcomb, Corinne, 2011. "Review of the Evidence Linking Climate Change to Human Health for Eight Diseases of Tropical Importance," Working Papers 131463, Scotland's Rural College (formerly Scottish Agricultural College), Land Economy & Environment Research Group.
    3. Ackerman, Frank & Stanton, Elizabeth A., 2006. "Can Climate Change Save Lives? A comment on “Economy-wide estimates of the implications of climate change: Human health"," Working Papers 37240, Tufts University, Global Development and Environment Institute.
    4. Barreca, Alan I., 2012. "Climate change, humidity, and mortality in the United States," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 19-34.
    5. Otrachshenko, Vladimir & Popova, Olga & Solomin, Pavel, 2018. "Misfortunes never come singly: Consecutive weather shocks and mortality in Russia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 249-258.
    6. José Luis Martínez-González & Jordi Suriñach & Gabriel Jover & Javier Martín-Vide & Mariano Barriendos-Vallvé & Enric Tello, 2020. "Assessing climate impacts on English economic growth (1645–1740): an econometric approach," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 160(2), pages 233-249, May.
    7. Otrachshenko, Vladimir & Popova, Olga & Solomin, Pavel, 2017. "Health Consequences of the Russian Weather," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 290-306.
    8. Veronika Huber & Dolores Ibarreta & Katja Frieler, 2017. "Cold- and heat-related mortality: a cautionary note on current damage functions with net benefits from climate change," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 142(3), pages 407-418, June.
    9. Richard Tol, 2013. "The economic impact of climate change in the 20th and 21st centuries," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 117(4), pages 795-808, April.
    10. Emmanuelle Lavaine, 2015. "An Econometric Analysis of Atmospheric Pollution, Environmental Disparities and Mortality Rates," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 60(2), pages 215-242, February.
    11. Adrian Chadi, 2017. "There Is No Place like Work: Evidence on Health and Labor Market Behavior from Changing Weather Conditions," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201709, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    12. Sha Lu & Yiyun Zhao & Zhouqi Chen & Mengke Dou & Qingchun Zhang & Weixin Yang, 2021. "Association between Atrial Fibrillation Incidence and Temperatures, Wind Scale and Air Quality: An Exploratory Study for Shanghai and Kunming," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(9), pages 1-18, May.
    13. Mark R Cullen & Clint Cummins & Victor R Fuchs, 2012. "Geographic and Racial Variation in Premature Mortality in the U.S.: Analyzing the Disparities," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 7(4), pages 1-13, April.
    14. Donald Wuebbles & Katharine Hayhoe, 2004. "Climate Change Projections for the United States Midwest," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 335-363, October.
    15. P. Link & Richard Tol, 2011. "Estimation of the economic impact of temperature changes induced by a shutdown of the thermohaline circulation: an application of FUND," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 104(2), pages 287-304, January.
    16. Frank Ackerman & Elizabeth Stanton, "undated". "Can Climate Change Save Lives? A comment on “Economy-wide estimates of the implications of climate change: Human health," GDAE Working Papers 06-05, GDAE, Tufts University.
    17. Matthias Ruth, 2003. "Modeling Infrastructure Vulnerabilities and Adaptation to Climate Change in Urban Systems: Methodology and Application to Metropolitan Boston," ERSA conference papers ersa03p400, European Regional Science Association.
    18. Thomas Longden, 2019. "The impact of temperature on mortality across different climate zones," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 157(2), pages 221-242, November.
    19. Thomas Longden, 2018. "Measuring temperature-related mortality using endogenously determined thresholds," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 150(3), pages 343-375, October.
    20. Tahseen Ajaz & Muhammad Tariq Majeed, 2018. "Changing Climate Patterns and Women Health: An Empirical Analysis of District Rawalpindi Pakistan," Global Social Sciences Review, Humanity Only, vol. 3(4), pages 320-342, December.


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