Heatwaves are a critical public health problem. There will be an increase in the frequency and severity of heatwaves under changing climate. However, evidence about the impacts of climate change on heatwave-related mortality at a global scale is limited. Current and future daily mean temperature series were projected under four scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions from 1971–2099, with five general circulation models. We estimated future changes in heatwave-related excess mortality for 412 communities in 20 countries/regions. To the best of our knowledge, this study is by far the largest international study for the potential health impacts associated with heatwaves under climate change scenarios. The assessment includes and compares results from hundreds of locations across regions of the world, characterised by different climates, socioeconomic and demographic conditions, and levels of development of infrastructures and public health services.
Our findings can provide suggestions for real-world practices for climate change mitigation and adaptation. First, stricter mitigation policy has to be applied to reduce greenhouse gas emission, because lower greenhouse gas emissions are associated with fewer deaths due to heatwaves. Second, adaptation interventions should be planned to reduce the health impacts of heatwaves in all the countries/regions, particularly for developing countries in tropical and subtropical regions. The adaptation interventions include six levels (individual, interpersonal, community, institutional, environmental, and public policy levels) with many methods, for example, communicating the health risks of heatwaves to the public and policy makers, establishing early warning systems and urban cooling centres, and developing smart house technology (cost effective to keep cool in summer).
Author list: Yuming Guo, Antonio Gasparrini, Shanshan Li, Francesco Sera, Ana Maria Vicedo-Cabrera, Micheline de Sousa Zanotti Stagliorio Coelho, Paulo Hilario Nascimento Saldiva, Eric Lavigne, Benjawan Tawatsupa, Kornwipa Punnasiri, Ala Overcenco, Patricia Matus Correa, Nicolas Valdes Ortega, Haidong Kan, Samuel Osorio, Jouni J. K. Jaakkola, Niilo R. I. Ryti, Patrick G. Goodman, Ariana Zeka, Paola Michelozzi, Matteo Scortichini, Masahiro Hashizume, Yasushi Honda, Xerxes Seposo, Ho Kim, Aurelio Tobias, Carmen Íñiguez, Bertil Forsberg, Daniel Oudin Åström, Yue Leon Guo, Bing-Yu Chen, Antonella Zanobetti, Joel Schwartz, Tran Ngoc Dang, Dung Do Van, Michelle L. Bell, Ben Armstrong, Kristie L. Ebi, Shilu Tong