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Comparison of UTCI with other thermal indices in the assessment of heat and cold effects on cardiovascular mortality in the Czech Republic.

Urban A, Kyselý J - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2014)

Bottom Line: We found similar heat effects on CVD mortality for air temperature and the examined thermal indices.Responses of CVD mortality to cold effects as characterised by different indices were much more varied.UTCI tends to select windy rather than freezing days in winter, though these show little effect on mortality in the urban population.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Atmospheric Physics AS CR, Boční II 1401, 141 31 Prague 4, Czech Republic. urban@ufa.cas.cz.

ABSTRACT
We compare the recently developed Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI) with other thermal indices in analysing heat- and cold-related effects on cardiovascular (CVD) mortality in two different (urban and rural) regions in the Czech Republic during the 16-year period from 1994-2009. Excess mortality is represented by the number of deaths above expected daily values, the latter being adjusted for long-term changes, annual and weekly cycles, and epidemics of influenza/acute respiratory infections. Air temperature, UTCI, Apparent Temperature (AT) and Physiologically Equivalent Temperature (PET) are applied to identify days with heat and cold stress. We found similar heat effects on CVD mortality for air temperature and the examined thermal indices. Responses of CVD mortality to cold effects as characterised by different indices were much more varied. Particularly important is the finding that air temperature provides a weak cold effect in comparison with the thermal indices in both regions, so its application--still widespread in epidemiological studies--may underestimate the magnitude of cold-related mortality. These findings are important when possible climate change effects on heat- and cold-related mortality are estimated. AT and PET appear to be more universal predictors of heat- and cold- related mortality than UTCI when both urban and rural environments are of concern. UTCI tends to select windy rather than freezing days in winter, though these show little effect on mortality in the urban population. By contrast, significant cold-related mortality in the rural region if UTCI is used shows potential for UTCI to become a useful tool in cold exposure assessments.

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Study areas. Red triangles show the meteorological stations used.
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ijerph-11-00952-f001: Study areas. Red triangles show the meteorological stations used.

Mentions: Daily data on mortality due to CVDs (codes I00–I99 according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision [ICD-10]), covering the period 1994–2009, were provided by the Czech Statistical Office (CZSO) and the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (IHIS). The data were sorted according to the primary cause of death (Table 1) and region of residence. Two regions with different characteristics—the city of Prague (1.25 million inhabitants) and the southern Bohemian region (1.15 million inhabitants)—were defined as urban and rural regions in accordance with the OECD’s international definition [22,23]. OECD’s terminology [22] defines a rural region as one in which at least 37.5% of inhabitants live in municipalities with population density less than 150 inhabitants per km2. In accordance with this definition, the two regional administrative units in the Czech Republic with the largest proportions of rural population are the South Bohemia Region (Jihočeský kraj, 46.8%) and the adjoining Highlands Region (Kraj Vysočina, 51.9%) [23]. Together, these constitute a contiguous geographic region (southern Bohemia; Figure 1) with population size and structure similar to Prague, but only 36% of inhabitants live in municipalities with population above 10,000 [24]. More details about the population under study are given in [21].


Comparison of UTCI with other thermal indices in the assessment of heat and cold effects on cardiovascular mortality in the Czech Republic.

Urban A, Kyselý J - Int J Environ Res Public Health (2014)

Study areas. Red triangles show the meteorological stations used.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3924484&req=5

ijerph-11-00952-f001: Study areas. Red triangles show the meteorological stations used.
Mentions: Daily data on mortality due to CVDs (codes I00–I99 according to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision [ICD-10]), covering the period 1994–2009, were provided by the Czech Statistical Office (CZSO) and the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (IHIS). The data were sorted according to the primary cause of death (Table 1) and region of residence. Two regions with different characteristics—the city of Prague (1.25 million inhabitants) and the southern Bohemian region (1.15 million inhabitants)—were defined as urban and rural regions in accordance with the OECD’s international definition [22,23]. OECD’s terminology [22] defines a rural region as one in which at least 37.5% of inhabitants live in municipalities with population density less than 150 inhabitants per km2. In accordance with this definition, the two regional administrative units in the Czech Republic with the largest proportions of rural population are the South Bohemia Region (Jihočeský kraj, 46.8%) and the adjoining Highlands Region (Kraj Vysočina, 51.9%) [23]. Together, these constitute a contiguous geographic region (southern Bohemia; Figure 1) with population size and structure similar to Prague, but only 36% of inhabitants live in municipalities with population above 10,000 [24]. More details about the population under study are given in [21].

Bottom Line: We found similar heat effects on CVD mortality for air temperature and the examined thermal indices.Responses of CVD mortality to cold effects as characterised by different indices were much more varied.UTCI tends to select windy rather than freezing days in winter, though these show little effect on mortality in the urban population.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Atmospheric Physics AS CR, Boční II 1401, 141 31 Prague 4, Czech Republic. urban@ufa.cas.cz.

ABSTRACT
We compare the recently developed Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI) with other thermal indices in analysing heat- and cold-related effects on cardiovascular (CVD) mortality in two different (urban and rural) regions in the Czech Republic during the 16-year period from 1994-2009. Excess mortality is represented by the number of deaths above expected daily values, the latter being adjusted for long-term changes, annual and weekly cycles, and epidemics of influenza/acute respiratory infections. Air temperature, UTCI, Apparent Temperature (AT) and Physiologically Equivalent Temperature (PET) are applied to identify days with heat and cold stress. We found similar heat effects on CVD mortality for air temperature and the examined thermal indices. Responses of CVD mortality to cold effects as characterised by different indices were much more varied. Particularly important is the finding that air temperature provides a weak cold effect in comparison with the thermal indices in both regions, so its application--still widespread in epidemiological studies--may underestimate the magnitude of cold-related mortality. These findings are important when possible climate change effects on heat- and cold-related mortality are estimated. AT and PET appear to be more universal predictors of heat- and cold- related mortality than UTCI when both urban and rural environments are of concern. UTCI tends to select windy rather than freezing days in winter, though these show little effect on mortality in the urban population. By contrast, significant cold-related mortality in the rural region if UTCI is used shows potential for UTCI to become a useful tool in cold exposure assessments.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus