Assessment of Health Impacts of Heatwaves in Brisbane, Australia : How to Best Define A Heatwave?

Tong, Shilu, Wang, Xiaoyu, & Barnett, Adrian G. (2009) Assessment of Health Impacts of Heatwaves in Brisbane, Australia : How to Best Define A Heatwave? In Epidemiology, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Dublin, S59-S59.

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Background and Objective: As global warming continues, the frequency, intensity and duration of heatwaves are likely to increase. However, a heatwave is unlikely to be defined uniformly because acclimatisation plays a significant role in determining the heat-related impact. This study investigated how to best define a heatwave in Brisbane, Australia. Methods: Computerised datasets on daily weather, air pollution and health outcomes between 1996 and 2005 were obtained from pertinent government agencies. Paired t-tests and case-crossover analyses were performed to assess the relationship between heatwaves and health outcomes using different heatwave definitions. Results: The maximum temperature was as high as 41.5°C with a mean maximum daily temperature of 26.3°C. None of the five commonly-used heatwave definitions suited Brisbane well on the basis of the health effects of heatwaves. Additionally, there were pros and cons when locally-defined definitions were attempted using either a relative or absolute definition for extreme temperatures. Conclusion: The issue of how to best define a heatwave is complex. It is important to identify an appropriate definition of heatwave locally and to understand its health effects.

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ID Code: 29281
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: heat wave, temperature, global warming
DOI: 10.1097/01.ede.0000362356.28410.86
ISSN: 1044-3983
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Epidemiology (111706)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Deposited On: 15 Dec 2009 01:47
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 14:14

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