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Projecting Temperature-related Mortality Impacts in New York City Under a Changing Climate

Li, Tiantian1,2; Horton, Radley3; Kinney, Patrick1

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000391700.42565.0a
Abstracts: ISEE 22nd Annual Conference, Seoul, Korea, 28 August–1 September 2010: Climate Change and Environmental Health

1Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY; 2Institute for Environmental Health and Related Product Safety, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, People's Republic of China; and 3Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Abstracts published in Epidemiology have been reviewed by the societies at whose meetings the abstracts have been accepted for presentation. These abstracts have not undergone review by the Editorial Board of Epidemiology.


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Climate change has lead to increasing temperatures in urban areas in recent decades, and these changes are likely to accelerate in the coming century. These changes may result in more heat-related mortality and less cold-related mortality, and the net impact remains uncertain. Our objective was to project future temperature-related mortality impacts over the full year in New York County across a range of climate change models and scenarios.

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Temperature projections for the 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s over New York County were obtained from 5 different models that were run with the IPCC A2 and B1 greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Downscaling to New York County was achieved. The association between maximum temperature and daily mortality in 1982–1999 was modeled using log-liner regression analysis. Percentage change in mortality in both winter and summer was calculated relative to the minimum mortality temperature. The heat- and cold-related deaths in the 1970s, 2020s, 2050s, and 2080s were estimated by integrating the results from the climate models and the empirical exposure-response relationship.

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In the A2 scenario, the mean annual temperature-related additional deaths were 686 in 2020s, 782 in 2050s, and 920 in 2080s. The mean increase in temperature, heat- and cold-related annual additional deaths in 2080s will be 52.3%, 56.0% and −66.7%, respectively, compared with 1970s. In B1 scenario, the mean annual temperature-related additional deaths were 681 in 2020s, 741 in 2050s, and 779 in 2080s. The mean increase in temperature, heat- and cold-related annual additional deaths in 2080s were 29.0%, 31.2%, and −44.4% compared with 1970s.

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These new results suggest that, over a range of models and scenarios of future greenhouse gas emissions, increases in heat-related mortality will outweigh reductions in cold-related mortality; while the 2 emissions scenarios produce similar mortality estimates through mid-century, the lower-emission B1 scenario results in substantially smaller annual mortality impacts by the 2080s.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.