Home Database Indicators Heat-related mortality in Europe

Heat-related mortality in Europe


Heat negatively affects human health and can be fatal. It can cause heat stress and dehydration, worsen heart, respiratory and kidney diseases, or even lead to heat stroke. The severity of adverse health outcomes is co-determined by the meteorological conditions, as well as age, pre-existing medical conditions and social deprivation as well as working and living conditions.


The standard approach in timeseries studies of the health impacts of ambient temperatures is to calculate epidemiological models between daily temperatures and counts of death.26 Parallel analyses using daily mortality data from a large ensemble of European regions showed that annual heat related mortality incidences are systematically underestimated in the weekly data model (manuscript in preparation). These biases are however constant throughout the years, and therefore, the linear trends of annual heat related mortality incidences from the weekly data model are not biased. This result motivated the current definition of the indicator as the trend of the yearly timeseries of heat related mortality incidence, and not based on the annual values themselves.

Reference information



van Daalen, K. R., et al., 2022, ‘The 2022 Europe report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: towards a climate resilient future’, The Lancet Public Health 7(11), pp. E942-E965. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(22)00197-9.

Data sources:

  1. Climatic data: ECMWF ERA5 Land Reanalysis data, retrieved from the Copernicus Climate Change Service Climate Data Store
  2. Population and mortality data: Eurostat demographic census data

Link to repository with code: 

Ballester, J., and Achebak, H., 2023, Code of the "Indicator 1.1.4: Heat Related Mortality", in: The 2022 Europe report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change, Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7581345


Additional reading:

  • Martínez-Solanas, È., et al., 2021, Projections of temperature-attributable mortality in Europe: a time series analysis of 147 contiguous regions in 16 countries, The Lancet Planetary Health 5(7), e446-e454. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(21)00150-9
  • Quijal-Zamorano, M., et al., 2021, Seasonality reversal of temperature attributable mortality projections due to previously unobserved extreme heat in Europe, The Lancet Planetary Health 5(9), e573-e575. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(21)00211-4
Lancet Countdown in Europe

Published in Climate-ADAPT Dec 05 2022   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Jan 30 2023

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