DATE2019-01-08 12:44:24
AUTHORSChristos Giannakopoulos (1)|Anna Karali (1)|Vassilis Psiloglou (1)|Giannis Lemesios (1)
  1. National Observatory of Athens, Athens, Greece
ABSTRACTThis study investigates the heat-related impacts of climate change on public health in the East Mediterranean. Most of the health problems in the East Mediterranean are related mainly to the warming already occurred as well as to extreme weather events such as heatwaves. In addition projections indicate that warming and extreme events will increase in future posing serious threats on human health. For the investigation of the relationship between hot weather condition and mortality in the East Mediterranean, a statistical model for two representative urban centres (Athens and Nicosia) was constructed assuming linear increase of mortality with increasing temperature. The empirical-statistical model constructed was shown to reproduce well the observed heat-related deaths. This makes the model more reliable for the quantification of the potential impacts of climate change on health to be studied using available regional climate model output. The statistical model was then used to project mortality levels to the future using regional climate models and assuming an adaptation factor for the population. Significant heat related increases in mortality are estimated especially as we approach the end of the 21st century for both urban areas. To further examine the potential negative impacts of climate warming on human life for the greater East Mediterranean area, the HUMIDEX index employed to express the temperature perceived by people was examined. HUMIDEX is applied in summer and generally warm periods and describes the temperature felt by an individual exposed to heat and humidity. All calculations of HUMIDEX were performed using regional climate model output. In all simulations the period 1961–1990 was used as the reference period (control run) for comparison with future projections for the period 2021–2050 and 2071-2100. The analysis revealed a significant increase in the HUMIDEX in future period mainly during summer months.