Influences of climatic and population changes on heat-related mortality in Houston, Texas, USA
- 335 Downloads
Extreme heat is a significant public health challenge in urban environments that disproportionally impacts vulnerable members of society. In this research, demographic, economic and climate projections are brought together with a statistical approach linking extreme heat and mortality in Houston, Texas. The sensitivity of heat-related non-accidental mortality to future changes of demographics, income and climate is explored. We compare climate change outcomes associated with two different Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, which describe alternate future scenarios for greenhouse gas emissions and concentrations. For each RCP, we explore demographic and economic scenarios for two plausible Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), SSP3 and SSP5. Our findings suggest that non-accidental mortality in 2061–2080 may increase for all combinations of RCP and SSP scenarios compared to a historical reference period spanning 1991–2010. Notably, increased heat-related non-accidental mortality is associated with changes in the size and age of the population, but the degree of sensitivity is highly uncertain given the breadth of plausible socioeconomic scenarios. Beyond socioeconomic changes, climate change is also important. For each socioeconomic scenario, non-accidental mortality associated with the lower emissions RCP4.5 scenario is projected to be 50 % less than mortality projected under the higher emissions RCP8.5 scenario.
This research was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NNX10AK79G) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Network on Statistics in the Atmosphere and Ocean Sciences (DMS-1106862; DMS-1417856). The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is sponsored by NSF. Brian O’Neill provided data for the demographic projections. The CESM project is supported by NSF and the Office of Science (BER) of the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Conlon K, Monaghan AJ, Hayden MH, Wilhelmi O (2016) Potential impacts of future climatic and land use changes on intra-urban heat exposure in Houston, Texas. PLoS One 11:e148890Google Scholar
- Emerson MO, Brater J, Howell J, Wilner Jeaenty P, Cline M (2013) Houston region grows more racially/ethnically diverse, with small declines in segregation. Kinder Institute for Urban Research & Hobby Center for the Study of Texas. http://kinder.rice.edu/uploadedFiles/Urban_Research_Center/Media/Houston%20Region%20Grows%20More%20Ethnically%20Diverse%202-13.pdf. Accessed 25 July 2015
- Greater Houston Partnership Research Department (GHPRD) (2014) Social, Economic and demographic characteristics of metro Houston. http://www.houston.org/pdf/research/quickview/Population_Employment_Forecast.pdf. Accessed 30 July 2015
- IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) (2015) SSP Database (Shared Socioeconomic Pathways) - Version 0.9.3. https://secure.iiasa.ac.at/web-apps/ene/SspDb/dsd?Action=htmlpage&page=about. Accessed 17 March 2015
- IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2013) Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschufng J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Jiang L, O’Neill, BC (2009) Household projections for rural and urban areas of major regions of the world. IIASA Interim Report IR-09-026. LaxenburgGoogle Scholar
- Mesinger F, DiMego G, Kalnay E, et al. (2006) North American regional reanalysis. B Am Meteorol Soc 87:343–360Google Scholar
- van Vuuren DP, Riahi K, Moss R, Edmonds J, Thomson A, Nakicenovic N, Kram T, Berkhout F, Swart R, Janetos A, Rose SK, Arnell N (2012) A proposal for a new scenario framework to support research and assessment in different climate research communities. Glob Environ Chang 22:21–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wilhelmi O, de Sherbinin A, Hayden M (2012) Exposure to heat stress in urban environments: Current status and future prospects in a changing climate. In: King B, Crews K (eds) Ecologies and Politics of Health. Routledge Press, New York, pp. 219–238Google Scholar
- Xia Y, et al (2012) Continental-scale water and energy flux analysis and validation for the north American land data assimilation system project phase 2 (NLDAS-2): 1. Intercomparison and application of model products. J Geophys Res 117:D03109. doi: 10.1029/2011JD016048