Spatial Differences in Mortality Response to Heat Waves According to Urban-to-Rural Gradient in Southern Europe

Dariya Ordanovich , Spanish National Research Council
Mathias Voigt
Michel Oris, Spanish Research Council
Diego Ramiro, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Francisco Viciana, Institute of Statistics and Cartography of Andalusia

In the past decades, heat waves became “The New Normal”, posing a significant threat to human health in Europe and elsewhere in the world. In this study we attempt to analyze the mortality responses in different settings across the region of Andalusia in Southern Spain during the period from 2000 to 2017, working on continuous spatial grids and implementing comprehensive environmental insights to deeper understand these variations. First, we elaborate a land-cover based classification schema to distinguish between urban and rural areas in Andalusia. Further, we add an hourly series of meteorological measurements to analyze the changes in the temperature and temperature-derived indices, identify the episodes of heat waves and classify each grid cell according to the duration and intensity of such episodes. These data are then analyzed against the age- and sex-specific mortality, estimated at the same spatio-temporal resolution, which enables us to capture differences otherwise masked if using administrative units. Moreover, we pay particular attention to the process of human adaptation to heat waves over time and across space. The deadliest heat wave of XXI century created a total excess mortality of almost 80.000 deaths in Europe in 2003, without leaving Spain and Andalusia aside, however the heat waves in the following years have not produced such intense mortality responses. Thus, we contrast the periods of 2000-2003, 2004-2008 (prior to/including the economic crisis of 2008) and 2009-2017 (post-crisis) in order to explore the factors defining successful adaptations to climate change in this area.

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 Presented in Session P10. Health Consequences of Environmental and Climate Change