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Research Article Advance Publication

Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1306954

Variability in Temperature-Related Mortality Projections under Climate Change

Tarik Benmarhnia,1,2,3 Marie-France Sottile,4,5 Céline Plante,6 Allan Brand,3,7 Barbara Casati,4 Michel Fournier,6 and Audrey Smargiassi1,3,7
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1Université de Montréal, DSEST, Montréal, QC, Canada; 2EHESP School of Public Health, Rennes, Sorbonne-Paris Cité, France; 3Chaire sur la pollution de l’air, les changements climatiques et la santé, Département de santé environnementale et de santé au travail, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada; 4Consortium Ouranos, Montréal, QC, Canada; 5Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs (MDDEP), QC, Canada; 6Direction de santé publique de l’Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, QC, Canada; 7Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec, Montréal, QC, Canada
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This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. EHP Advance Publication articles are completely citable using the DOI number assigned to the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.

Citation: Benmarhnia T, Sottile MF, Plante C, Brand A, Casati B, Fournier M, Smargiassi A. Variability in Temperature-Related Mortality Projections under Climate Change. Environ Health Perspect;

Received: 15 April 2013
Accepted: 16 July 2014
Advance Publication: 18 July 2014

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Background: Most studies that have assessed impacts on mortality of future temperature increases have relied on a small number of simulations and have not addressed the variability and sources of uncertainty in their mortality projections.

Objectives: We assessed the variability of temperature projections and dependent future mortality distributions, using a large panel of temperature simulations based on different climate models and emission scenarios.

Methods: we used historical data from 1990 through 2007 for Montreal, Quebec, Canada and Poisson regression models to estimate relative risks (RR) for daily non-accidental mortality in association with three different daily temperature metrics (mean, minimum, and maximum temperature) during June–August. To estimate future numbers of deaths attributable to ambient temperatures and its uncertainty, we used 32 different simulations of daily temperatures for June-August 2020-2037 derived from 3 global climate models (GCMs) and a Canadian regional climate model with three sets of RRs (one based on the observed historical data, and two on bootstrap samples that generated the 95% confidence interval of the attributable number of deaths), We then used an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to evaluate the influence of the simulation, the projected year, and the sets of RRs used to derive the attributable numbers of death (ANs).

Results: We found that <1% of the variability in the distributions of simulated temperature for June-August of 2020-2037 was explained by differences among the simulations. Estimated ANs for 2020–2037 ranged from 34 to 174 per summer (i.e. June-August). Most of the variability in mortality projections (38%) was related to the temperature-mortality RR used to estimate the ANs.

Conclusions: The choice of the RR estimate for the association between temperature and mortality may be important to reduce uncertainty in mortality projections.

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