The impact of heat waves on mortality in Northwest India

Amruta Nori-Sarma, G. Brooke Anderson, Ajit Rajiva, Gulrez ShahAzhar, Prakash Gupta, Mangesh S. Pednekar, Ji Young Son, Roger D. Peng, Michelle L. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Heat waves are anticipated to worsen with climate change. India, an understudied area with >15% of the world's population, commonly experiences temperature extremes and already resembles potential future climates of more temperate regions. Registry data from local municipal corporations and government offices were collected and translated, yielding daily all-cause mortality for 4 communities in Northwest India for all or part of the period 2000–2012. Heat waves were defined as ≥2 days with local temperature ≥97th percentile for that community. An alternate definition matching that used by the Indian Meteorological Department was also developed, to enhance policy relevance. Community-specific average daily maximum temperature over the entire record ranged from 32.5 to 34.2 °C (90.5–93.6 °F). Across communities, total mortality increased 18.1% during heat wave days compared with non-heat-wave days [95% confidence interval (CI): −5.3%, 47.3%], with the highest risk in Jaipur (29.9% [95% CI: 24.6%, 34.9%]). Evidence of effect modification by heat wave characteristics (intensity, duration, and timing in season) was limited. Findings indicate health risks associated with heat waves in communities with high baseline temperatures. Results can inform heat wave-health assessments in temperate regions in future, and improve our understanding of temperature-health associations under climate change. Further investigation of potential effect modification by heat wave characteristics is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108546
JournalEnvironmental research
Volume176
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Effect modification
  • Extreme temperature
  • Heat wave
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)

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