nerc.ac.uk

Attributing human mortality during extreme heat waves to anthropogenic climate change

Mitchell, Daniel; Heaviside, Clare; Vardoulakis, Sotiris; Huntingford, Chris; Masato, Giacomo; Guillod, Benoit P.; Frumhoff, Peter; Bowery, Andy; Wallom, David; Allen, Myles. 2016 Attributing human mortality during extreme heat waves to anthropogenic climate change. Environmental Research Letters, 11 (7), 074006. 8, pp. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/11/7/074006

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
[img]
Preview
Text
N516475JA.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract/Summary

It has been argued that climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. The extreme high temperatures of the summer of 2003 were associated with up to seventy thousand excess deaths across Europe. Previous studies have attributed the meteorological event to the human influence on climate, or examined the role of heat waves on human health. Here, for the first time, we explicitly quantify the role of human activity on climate and heat-related mortality in an event attribution framework, analysing both the Europe-wide temperature response in 2003, and localised responses over London and Paris. Using publicly-donated computing, we perform many thousands of climate simulations of a high-resolution regional climate model. This allows generation of a comprehensive statistical description of the 2003 event and the role of human influence within it, using the results as input to a health impact assessment model of human mortality. We find large-scale dynamical modes of atmospheric variability remain largely unchanged under anthropogenic climate change, and hence the direct thermodynamical response is mainly responsible for the increased mortality. In summer 2003, anthropogenic climate change increased the risk of heat-related mortality in Central Paris by ~70% and by ~20% in London, which experienced lower extreme heat. Out of the estimated ~315 and ~735 summer deaths attributed to the heatwave event in Greater London and Central Paris, respectively, 64 (±3) deaths were attributable to anthropogenic climate change in London, and 506 (±51) in Paris. Such an ability to robustly attribute specific damages to anthropogenic drivers of increased extreme heat can inform societal responses to, and responsibilities for, climate change.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/11/7/074006
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Reynard
ISSN: 1748-9326
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: mortality, extreme climate, attribution, 2003 heat wave
NORA Subject Terms: Health
Meteorology and Climatology
Date made live: 08 Mar 2017 13:00 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/516475

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...