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Mortality risks during extreme temperature events (ETEs) using a distributed lag non-linear model

Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between all-cause mortality and extreme temperature events (ETEs) from 1975 to 2004. For 50 U.S. locations, these heat and cold events were defined based on location-specific thresholds of daily mean apparent temperature. Heat days were defined by a 3-day mean apparent temperature greater than the 95th percentile while extreme heat days were greater than the 97.5th percentile. Similarly, calculations for cold and extreme cold days relied upon the 5th and 2.5th percentiles. A distributed lag non-linear model assessed the relationship between mortality and ETEs for a cumulative 14-day period following exposure. Subsets for season and duration effect denote the differences between early- and late-season as well as short and long ETEs. While longer-lasting heat days resulted in elevated mortality, early season events also impacted mortality outcomes. Over the course of the summer season, heat-related risk decreased, though prolonged heat days still had a greater influence on mortality. Unlike heat, cold-related risk was greatest in more southerly locations. Risk was highest for early season cold events and decreased over the course of the winter season. Statistically, short episodes of cold showed the highest relative risk, suggesting unsettled weather conditions may have some relationship to cold-related mortality. For both heat and cold, results indicate higher risk to the more extreme thresholds. Risk values provide further insight into the role of adaptation, geographical variability, and acclimatization with respect to ETEs.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Tom Schmidlin, Andrew Curtis, Lynette Phillips, and Ellen Glickman of Kent State University for their feedback and insight.

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Correspondence to Michael J. Allen.

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Allen, M.J., Sheridan, S.C. Mortality risks during extreme temperature events (ETEs) using a distributed lag non-linear model. Int J Biometeorol 62, 57–67 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-015-1117-4

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Keywords

  • Mortality
  • Distributed lag non-linear model
  • Heat wave
  • Cold spell
  • Extreme temperature events