Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Heat wave deaths highest in early summer

Date:
November 30, 2010
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
The risk of dying from a heat wave is highest when heat waves occur early in the summer and are hotter and longer than usual, according to a new study.

The risk of dying from a heat wave is highest when heat waves occur early in the summer and are hotter and longer than usual, according to a Yale study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).

During the first heat wave of a summer, the risk of mortality increases 5.04 percent, compared to 2.65 percent for heat waves that occur later in the summer. Michelle Bell, a co-author of the study and associate professor of environmental health at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, said that people may be less accustomed to the heat early in the summer and may not protect themselves against it, and that people most vulnerable to heat waves may succumb during the first one of the season.

"We found a higher mortality risk from heat waves that were either hotter, longer or earlier in the summer," said Bell. The average daily risk of non-accidental death increased by an average of 3.74 percent during heat waves that occurred during the study, from 1987 to 2005 in 43 U.S. cities. The mortality impact of a heat wave increased by 2.49 percent for each 1-degree Fahrenheit increase in mean temperature and 0.38 percent every day a heat wave dragged on.

Bell and Brooke Anderson, the study's other co-author and a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, defined a heat wave as two or more days for which the average mean temperature exceeded the 95th percentile of temperatures for May through September for a given city during the 19-year study.

The risk of mortality was greater in the Northeast and Midwest than in the South. Bell said that even though it's hotter in the South, the risk of dying may be lower because air conditioning is more prevalent and people are more acclimated to the heat. Mortality did not increase at all during heat waves in several of the southern cities that were studied, including Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth and Tulsa.

In addition to variation across regions, the authors also found that mortality rates during heat waves of similar intensity and duration could vary from one year to the next within the same region or even within the same city. "Our findings have implications for decision-makers addressing the health burden of heat waves and for researchers estimating health effects from climate change," said Anderson.

The research was funded by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science to Achieve Results graduate fellowship, a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the U.S. EPA via the Johns Hopkins Particulate Matter Research Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G. Brooke Anderson, Michelle L. Bell. Heatwaves in the United States: Mortality Risk During Heatwaves and Effect Modification by Heatwave Characteristics in 43 US Communities. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2010; DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1002313

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Heat wave deaths highest in early summer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101130100532.htm>.
Yale University. (2010, November 30). Heat wave deaths highest in early summer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101130100532.htm
Yale University. "Heat wave deaths highest in early summer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101130100532.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins