Unusually cold and dry winters increase mortality in Australia
Huang, Cunrui, Chu, Cordia, Wang, Xiaoming, & Barnett, Adrian G. (2015) Unusually cold and dry winters increase mortality in Australia. Environmental Research, 136, pp. 1-7.
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Seasonal patterns in mortality have been recognised for decades, with a marked excess of deaths in winter, yet our understanding of the causes of this phenomenon is not yet complete. Research has shown that low and high temperatures are associated with increased mortality independently of season; however, the impact of unseasonal weather on mortality has been less studied. In this study, we aimed to determine if unseasonal patterns in weather were associated with unseasonal patterns in mortality. We obtained daily temperature, humidity and mortality data from 1988 to 2009 for five major Australian cities with a range of climates. We split the seasonal patterns in temperature, humidity and mortality into their stationary and non-stationary parts. A stationary seasonal pattern is consistent from year-to-year, and a non-stationary pattern varies from year-to-year. We used Poisson regression to investigate associations between unseasonal weather and an unusual number of deaths. We found that deaths rates in Australia were 20–30% higher in winter than summer. The seasonal pattern of mortality was non-stationary, with much larger peaks in some winters. Winters that were colder or drier than a typical winter had significantly increased death risks in most cities. Conversely summers that were warmer or more humid than average showed no increase in death risks. Better understanding the occurrence and cause of seasonal variations in mortality will help with disease prevention and save lives.
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|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Keywords:||Season, Temperature, Humidity, Climate change, Mortality|
|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
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2014 Elsevier Inc.|
|Copyright Statement:||NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Environmental Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Environmental Research, Volume 136, January 2015, DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.08.046|
|Deposited On:||16 Dec 2014 02:59|
|Last Modified:||20 Dec 2014 05:29|
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