EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Forecast of temperature-attributable mortality at lead times of up to 15 days for a very large ensemble of European regions

Marcos Quijal-Zamorano1, Desislava Petrova1, Xavier Rodó1,2, Èrica Martinez-Solanas1,3, and Joan Ballester1
Marcos Quijal-Zamorano et al.
  • 1ISGlobal, Climate and Health Program, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2ICREA, Barcelona, Spain
  • 3Sub-Directorate General for Surveillance and Response to Public Health Emergencies, Public Health Agency, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Implementing adequate health preventing measures is essential for public health decision making, particularly in the current context of rising temperatures. Most of the early warning systems are only based on climate data, and in very few cases they truly model the actual impact of the climate phenomena.

Here we establish, for the first-time, the theoretical basis for the development of operational heat-health early warning systems that combine climate and health data. We studied the predictability of Temperature Attributable Mortality (TAM) at lead times of up to 15 days for a very large ensemble of European regions. To achieve this goal, we analysed daily counts of all-cause mortality for the period 1998-2012 in 147 NUTS2 regions in 16 European countries, representing more than 400 million people, and daily high-resolution weather forecasts from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). We applied epidemiological models for the fitting of the temperature-mortality relationship in each of the regions, accounting for the different vulnerabilities and socio-demographic characteristics existing in Europe. We compared the predictive skill of the temperature and health forecasts on seasons and days with higher mortality risk. 

We conclude that the predictability of temperature can be used to issue skilful forecasts of TAM. In general, the predictability limit of temperature is similar to the one of TAM, which implies that the use of epidemiological models to transform the climate variables into health information does not reduce the lead time limit with significant forecast skill. Nonetheless, the spatial heterogeneity of the predictability lead time for TAM is higher than for temperature, especially in summer, where the complex shape of the temperature-mortality association amplifies the forecast errors. Overall, we find  a nearly-linear relationship between the predictability of temperature and TAM for different seasons and regions, suggesting that future improvements in the predictability of temperature could automatically lead to improvements in the predictability of TAM.

How to cite: Quijal-Zamorano, M., Petrova, D., Rodó, X., Martinez-Solanas, È., and Ballester, J.: Forecast of temperature-attributable mortality at lead times of up to 15 days for a very large ensemble of European regions, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-4107,, 2021.


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