International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 62, Issue 5, pp 783–794 | Cite as

Risk perception of heat waves and its spatial variation in Nanjing, China

  • Lei Huang
  • Qianqi Yang
  • Jie Li
  • Jin Chen
  • Ruoying He
  • Can Zhang
  • Kai Chen
  • Steven Guanpeng Dong
  • Yang Liu
Original Paper


The intensity, frequency, and duration of heat waves are expected to increase with climate change. In this study, we found a significant difference of public perceived effects of heat waves and trust in government among urban, suburban, and rural districts. Rural residents had a significant higher effect perception than urbanites and also showed stronger willingness to have medical insurance or regular physical examinations. Meanwhile, suburban residents had the lowest trust perception in government among these three districts, which may be due to suburban districts’ unique social structure and complex social issues. Besides, we assessed the relationship between the factor effect and demographic variables. The results showed that urban respondents’ effect perception was significantly related to heat wave experiences. Suburban respondents’ effect perception was significantly related to age, income, and heat wave experiences. And rural respondents’ effect perception was significantly related to income and chronic diseases. Based on our results, much more attention needs to be paid to rural districts. The government should strengthen infrastructure construction such as cooling centers, improve emergency response plans and mechanisms, and increase reserves of emergency supplies in rural districts. Also, targeted risk communication is of the equal importance to aid the policy-makers improving the relationship with the public and regaining the public’s trust and support.


Heat waves Risk perception Spatial variation Psychometric paradigm 



We thank Weiliang Bao, Xuwen Chen, Lilin Lin, and Haiyun Wu for questionnaire distribution and fruitful discussions. And we thank for the support of the Chinese Natural Science Foundation 41571475 (, received by LH) and the Special Funding for Environmental Public Welfare Projects 201509053 (, received by LH).The work of Y. Liu waspartially supported by the Office of Global Strategy and Initiatives andthe Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning at Emory led by Dr.Philip Wainwright through the Emory-NJU Global Partnership Initiative.


This study was funded by the Chinese Natural Science Foundation 41571475. (, received by LH) and the Special Funding for Environmental Public Welfare Projects 201509053 (, received by LH). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. This study was also supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

Compliance with ethical standards

Research involving human participants

The study complies with the current laws of the country. The result of ethical review given by the Ethics Committee of Nanjing University is “approval,” and this process conforms to the requirements of the ethical review.

Informed consent

In order to avoid divulging any private information, informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

484_2017_1480_MOESM1_ESM.rar (45 kb)
ESM 1 Questionnaire in both Chinese and English (RAR 44 kb)
484_2017_1480_Fig4_ESM.gif (31 kb)

Regional difference of relative risks (RR) of the 2010 heat wave on stroke mortality in Nanjing city (Chen et al. 2015) (GIF 31 kb)

484_2017_1480_MOESM2_ESM.tif (946 kb)
ESM 2 (High resolution image TIFF 946 kb)
484_2017_1480_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (60 kb)
ESM 3 Data implying the findings in the study (XLSX 60 kb)


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Copyright information

© ISB 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of the EnvironmentNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Lamont-Doherty Earth ObservatoryColumbia UniversityPalisadesUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Epidemiology II, Helmholtz Zentrum MünchenIngolstädter LandstrNeuherbergGermany
  4. 4.Academy of Media and Public AffairsCommunication University of ChinaBeijingChina
  5. 5.Department of Environmental and Occupational HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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