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Heat and cold stress attributable deaths in European cities


Heat and cold are established environmental risk factors for human health. This study mapped annual excess deaths from heat and cold stress in more than 850 European cities in 30 countries, considering geographical differences and age-specific risks. Maps of mortality risks and excess deaths provide insight into geographical differences, such as a north–south gradient, increased vulnerability to both cold and heat stress in eastern Europe, and local variations due to urban characteristics. Overall, the authors estimated the excess mortality to be around 204,000 deaths attributed to cold and 20,000 attributed to heat annually.

The study shows that with age, the risk of being negatively affected by both cold and heat increases. Other vulnerability factors are related to the size of the city (with higher relative risks in larger cities) and the proximity of water and green areas (with lower relative risks for cities with more green and blue infrastructure). Read more about different vulnerabilities in an interview with the lead authors of the study on the Exhaustion website

Reference information

Masselot, P., et al., 2023, Excess mortality attributed to heat and cold: a health impact assessment study in 854 cities in Europe, The Lancet Planetary Health 7(4), e271-e281. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(23)00023-2.

Published in Climate-ADAPT Sep 05 2023   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Sep 06 2023

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