Quantification of heat-stress related mortality hazard, vulnerability and risk in Berlin, Germany

Dieter Scherer, Ute Fehrenbach, Tobia Lakes, Steffen Lauf, Fred Meier, Christian Schuster

Abstract


Many studies have addressed the challenge of heat stress for human health in recent years. However, appropriate concepts and methods for quantifying heat-stress hazards, vulnerabilities and risks are yet under development. The objective of this study is to test the applicability of a risk concept and associated event-based risk-analysis method for quantifying heat-stress related mortality. The study reveals that about 5 % of all deaths between 2001 and 2010 in Ber­lin can statistically be related to elevated air temperatures. Most of the affected people are 65 years or older, while the mortality of people below 65 years shows only weak statistical correlation to air temperature. Mean daily air tempera­ture was best suitable for risk analysis. The results demonstrate that the novel approach for quantitative risk analysis delivers statistically highly significant results on the city scale when analysing heat stress on an event basis. Performing the risk analysis on a spatially distributed data basis for city districts would allow to account for spatial variations of ur­ban climates and demographic properties. Using indoor climate data is expected to provide new insight into heat-stress related mortality risks, particularly for highly vulnerable persons like elderly persons or patients residing in hospitals.

Keywords


Urban climate, heat stress, risk analysis, mortality, Berlin, Germany

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12854/erde.v144i3-4.49

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