Special Issue "Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Biometeorology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Clare Heaviside

Chemical and Environmental Effects Department, Public Health England, Oxon, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 01235 825142
Interests: climate change; urban climate; Urban Heat Island; climate and health; air pollution; temperatures; heatwaves; extreme events; climate change impacts and attribution; meteorology; ocean and atmosphere interactions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate change affects health in a variety of ways, and impacts will vary depending on geographical location. Direct impacts on health may occur due to changes in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as heatwaves and floods. However, climate change will also lead to indirect impacts; for example, from changes in vector borne disease risk, air quality, food availability and more. Careful examination of risks and impacts expected in future can help motivate efforts to limit the global extent of climate change.

This Special Issue is now open for submissions of novel and original articles outlining research to investigate and quantify a range of health impacts relating to climate change, in all regions of the world. Studies investigating climate change adaptation, health effects of intervention measures and health co-benefits of measures to mitigate climate change are welcomed. Detailed and focused reviews on specific related topics are welcome; please contact the editorial office in advance in this case.

Dr. Clare Heaviside
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Atmosphere is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • climate change
  • public health
  • extreme weather
  • heatwaves
  • climate change adaptation
  • health co-benefits

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Climate Change and Human Health—The Links to the UN Landmark Agreement on Disaster Risk Reduction
Atmosphere 2018, 9(6), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9060231
Received: 22 May 2018 / Accepted: 23 May 2018 / Published: 15 June 2018
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Making Administrative Systems Adaptive to Emerging Climate Change-Related Health Effects: Case of Estonia
Atmosphere 2018, 9(6), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9060221
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 4 June 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 9 June 2018
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Abstract
To facilitate resilience to a changing climate, it is necessary to go beyond quantitative studies and take an in-depth look at the functioning of health systems and the variety of drivers shaping its effectiveness. We clarify the factors determining the effectiveness of the
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To facilitate resilience to a changing climate, it is necessary to go beyond quantitative studies and take an in-depth look at the functioning of health systems and the variety of drivers shaping its effectiveness. We clarify the factors determining the effectiveness of the Estonian health system in assessing and managing the health risks of climate change. Document analyses, expert interviews with key informants from health systems whose responsibilities are relevant to climate change, and analysis of a population-based survey conducted in 2015, indicate that the health effects of climate change have not been mainstreamed into policy. Therefore, many of the potential synergistic effects of combining information on health systems, environment, and vulnerable populations remain unexploited. The limited uptake of the issue of climate change-related health risks may be attributed to the lack of experience with managing extreme weather events; limited understanding of how to incorporate projections of longer-term health risks into policies and plans; unclear divisions of responsibility; and market liberal state approaches. Minority groups and urban dwellers are placing strong pressure on the health system to address climate change-related risks, likely due to their lower levels of perceived control over their physical wellbeing. The results have implications for national, community, and individual resilience in upper-middle income countries in Eastern Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Cold Waves in Poznań (Poland) and Thermal Conditions in the City during Selected Cold Waves
Atmosphere 2018, 9(6), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9060208
Received: 27 April 2018 / Revised: 24 May 2018 / Accepted: 25 May 2018 / Published: 28 May 2018
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Abstract
The objective of the paper was to characterize the occurrence of cold days and cold waves in Poznań in the years 1966/67–2015/16, as well as to characterize thermal conditions in the city during selected cold waves in the years 2008/09–2015/16. The study was
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The objective of the paper was to characterize the occurrence of cold days and cold waves in Poznań in the years 1966/67–2015/16, as well as to characterize thermal conditions in the city during selected cold waves in the years 2008/09–2015/16. The study was based on daily data on maximum and minimum air temperature for station Poznań-Ławica from the years 1966/67–2015/16 and daily air temperature values from eight measurement points located in the territory of the city in different types of land use from the years 2008/08–2015/16. In addition, to characterize thermal conditions during selected days forming cold waves, satellite images were used, on the basis of which the land surface temperature (LST) was calculated. A cold day was defined as a day with daily maximum temperature (Tmax) below the value of 5th annual percentile of Tmax, and a cold wave was defined as at least five consecutive cold days. The study showed an increase in Tmax in winter, which translated to a decrease in the number of cold days over the last 50 years, although the changes were not statistically significant. Thermal conditions in the city showed high variability in the winter season and during the analyzed cold waves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Estimating the Influence of Housing Energy Efficiency and Overheating Adaptations on Heat-Related Mortality in the West Midlands, UK
Atmosphere 2018, 9(5), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9050190
Received: 20 April 2018 / Revised: 14 May 2018 / Accepted: 15 May 2018 / Published: 16 May 2018
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Abstract
Mortality rates rise during hot weather in England, and projected future increases in heatwave frequency and intensity require the development of heat protection measures such as the adaptation of housing to reduce indoor overheating. We apply a combined building physics and health model
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Mortality rates rise during hot weather in England, and projected future increases in heatwave frequency and intensity require the development of heat protection measures such as the adaptation of housing to reduce indoor overheating. We apply a combined building physics and health model to dwellings in the West Midlands, UK, using an English Housing Survey (EHS)-derived stock model. Regional temperature exposures, heat-related mortality risk, and space heating energy consumption were estimated for 2030s, 2050s, and 2080s medium emissions climates prior to and following heat mitigating, energy-efficiency, and occupant behaviour adaptations. Risk variation across adaptations, dwellings, and occupant types were assessed. Indoor temperatures were greatest in converted flats, while heat mortality rates were highest in bungalows due to the occupant age profiles. Full energy efficiency retrofit reduced regional domestic space heating energy use by 26% but increased summertime heat mortality 3–4%, while reduced façade absorptance decreased heat mortality 12–15% but increased energy consumption by 4%. External shutters provided the largest reduction in heat mortality (37–43%), while closed windows caused a large increase in risk (29–64%). Ensuring adequate post-retrofit ventilation, targeted installation of shutters, and ensuring operable windows in dwellings with heat-vulnerable occupants may save energy and significantly reduce heat-related mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Ambulance Service Resource Planning for Extreme Temperatures: Analysis of Ambulance 999 Calls during Episodes of Extreme Temperature in London, UK
Atmosphere 2018, 9(5), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9050182
Received: 18 March 2018 / Revised: 2 May 2018 / Accepted: 8 May 2018 / Published: 11 May 2018
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Abstract
The association between episodes of extreme temperature and ambulance 999 calls has not yet been properly quantified. In this study we propose a statistical physics-based method to estimate the true mean number of ambulance 999 calls during episodes of extreme temperatures. Simple arithmetic
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The association between episodes of extreme temperature and ambulance 999 calls has not yet been properly quantified. In this study we propose a statistical physics-based method to estimate the true mean number of ambulance 999 calls during episodes of extreme temperatures. Simple arithmetic mean overestimates the true number of calls during such episodes. Specifically, we apply the physics-based framework of nonextensive statistical mechanics (NESM) for estimating the probability distribution of extreme events to model the positive daily variation of ambulance calls. In addition, we combine NESM with the partitioned multiobjective method (PMRM) to determine the true mean of the positive daily difference of calls during periods of extreme temperature. We show that the use of the standard mean overestimates the true mean number of ambulance calls during episodes of extreme temperature. It is important to correctly estimate the mean value of ambulance 999 calls during such episodes in order for the ambulance service to efficiently manage their resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle Thermal Conditions in the City of Poznań (Poland) during Selected Heat Waves
Atmosphere 2018, 9(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9010011
Received: 10 November 2017 / Revised: 7 December 2017 / Accepted: 3 January 2018 / Published: 7 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (16162 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of the study was to characterise the occurrence of hot days and heat waves in Poznań in the 1966–2015 period, as well as to describe the thermal conditions in the city during selected heat waves between 2008 and 2015. The basis
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The aim of the study was to characterise the occurrence of hot days and heat waves in Poznań in the 1966–2015 period, as well as to describe the thermal conditions in the city during selected heat waves between 2008 and 2015. The basis of the study was the daily maximum and minimum air temperature values for Poznań–Ławica station from 1966–2015 and the daily values of air temperature from eight measuring points located in the city in various land types from 2008 to 2015. A hot day was defined as a day with Tmax above the 95th annual percentile (from 1966 to 2015), while a heat wave was assumed to be at least five consecutive hot days. The research study conducted shows the increase of Tmax, number of hot days and frequency of heat waves in Poznań over the last 50 years. Across the area of the city (differentiation of urban area types according to Urban Atlas 2012), there was a great diversity of thermal conditions during the heat waves analysed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle The Summers 2003 and 2015 in South-West Germany: Heat Waves and Heat-Related Mortality in the Context of Climate Change
Atmosphere 2017, 8(11), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos8110224
Received: 15 August 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 15 November 2017
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Abstract
After 2003, another hot summer took place in Western and Central Europe in 2015. In this study, we compare the characteristics of the two major heat waves of these two summers and their effect on the heat related mortality. The analysis is performed
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After 2003, another hot summer took place in Western and Central Europe in 2015. In this study, we compare the characteristics of the two major heat waves of these two summers and their effect on the heat related mortality. The analysis is performed with focus on South-West Germany (Baden–Württemberg). With an additional mean summer mortality of +7.9% (2003) and +5.8% (2015) both years mark the top-two records of the summer mortality in the period 1968–2015. In each summer, one major heat wave contributed strongly to the excess summer mortality: In August 2003, daily mortality reached anomalies of +70% and in July 2015 maximum deviations of +56% were observed. The August 2003 heat wave was very long-lasting and characterized by exceptional high maximum and minimum temperatures. In July 2015, temperatures were slightly lower than in 2003, however, the high air humidity during the day and night, lead to comparable heat loads. Furthermore, the heat wave occurred earlier during the summer, when the population was less acclimated to heat stress. Using regional climate models we project an increasing probability for future 2003- and 2015-like heat waves already in the near future (2021–2050), with a 2015-like event occurring about every second summer. In the far future (2070–2099) pronounced increases with more than two 2015-like heat waves per summer are possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health)
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Review

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Open AccessReview El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Health: An Overview for Climate and Health Researchers
Atmosphere 2018, 9(7), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9070282 (registering DOI)
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 15 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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Abstract
The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is an important mode of climatic variability that exerts a discernible impact on ecosystems and society through alterations in climate patterns. For this reason, ENSO has attracted much interest in the climate and health science community, with
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The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is an important mode of climatic variability that exerts a discernible impact on ecosystems and society through alterations in climate patterns. For this reason, ENSO has attracted much interest in the climate and health science community, with many analysts investigating ENSO health links through considering the degree of dependency of the incidence of a range of climate diseases on the occurrence of El Niño events. Because of the mounting interest in the relationship between ENSO as a major mode of climatic variability and health, this paper presents an overview of the basic characteristics of the ENSO phenomenon and its climate impacts, discusses the use of ENSO indices in climate and health research, and outlines the present understanding of ENSO health associations. Also touched upon are ENSO-based seasonal health forecasting and the possible impacts of climate change on ENSO and the implications this holds for future assessments of ENSO health associations. The review concludes that there is still some way to go before a thorough understanding of the association between ENSO and health is achieved, with a need to move beyond analyses undertaken through a purely statistical lens, with due acknowledgement that ENSO is a complex non-canonical phenomenon, and that simple ENSO health associations should not be expected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health)
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Open AccessReview Beyond Climate Change and Health: Integrating Broader Environmental Change and Natural Environments for Public Health Protection and Promotion in the UK
Atmosphere 2018, 9(7), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos9070245
Received: 27 April 2018 / Revised: 15 June 2018 / Accepted: 20 June 2018 / Published: 27 June 2018
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Abstract
Increasingly, the potential short and long-term impacts of climate change on human health and wellbeing are being demonstrated. However, other environmental change factors, particularly relating to the natural environment, need to be taken into account to understand the totality of these interactions and
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Increasingly, the potential short and long-term impacts of climate change on human health and wellbeing are being demonstrated. However, other environmental change factors, particularly relating to the natural environment, need to be taken into account to understand the totality of these interactions and impacts. This paper provides an overview of ongoing research in the Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) on Environmental Change and Health, particularly around the positive and negative effects of the natural environment on human health and well-being and primarily within a UK context. In addition to exploring the potential increasing risks to human health from water-borne and vector-borne diseases and from exposure to aeroallergens such as pollen, this paper also demonstrates the potential opportunities and co-benefits to human physical and mental health from interacting with the natural environment. The involvement of a Health and Environment Public Engagement (HEPE) group as a public forum of “critical friends” has proven useful for prioritising and exploring some of this research; such public involvement is essential to minimise public health risks and maximise the benefits which are identified from this research into environmental change and human health. Research gaps are identified and recommendations made for future research into the risks, benefits and potential opportunities of climate and other environmental change on human and planetary health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health)
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