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Ozone and heat-related mortality in Europe in 2050 significantly affected by changes in climate, population and greenhouse gas emission
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine. Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7965-9451
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine.
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2019 (English)In: Environmental Research Letters, ISSN 1748-9326, E-ISSN 1748-9326, Vol. 14, no 7, article id 074013Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Climate change is expected to increase to extreme temperatures and lead to more intense formation of near-surface ozone. Higher temperatures can cause heat stress and ozone is a highly oxidative pollutant; both increase cardiorespiratory mortality. Using greenhouse gas and ozone precursor emission scenarios, global and regional climate and chemistry-transport models, epidemiological data, and population projections, we projected ozone- and heat-related health risks under a changing climate. European near-surface temperature was modelled with the regional climate model (RCA4), forced by the greenhouse gas emission scenario RCP4.5 and the global climate model EC-EARTH, and near-surface ozone was modelled with the Multi-scale Atmospheric Transport and Chemistry (MATCH) model. Two periods were compared: recent climate in 1991-2000 and future climate in 2046-2055, projecting around a 2 degrees increase in global temperatures by that time. Projections of premature mortality considered future climate, future population, and future emissions separately and jointly to understand the relative importance of their contributions. Ozone currently causes 55 000 premature deaths annually in Europe due to long-term exposure, including a proportion of the estimated 26 000 deaths per year due to short-term exposures. When only taking into account the impact of a changing climate, up to an 11% increase in ozone-associated mortality is expected in some countries in Central and Southern Europe in 2050. However, projected decreases in ozone precursor emissions are expected to result in a decrease in ozone-related mortality (-30% as EUaverage). Due to aging and increasingly susceptible populations, the decrease in 2050 would be smaller, up to -24%. During summer months, ozone risks could combine with increasing temperatures, especially during the hottest periods and in densely populated urban areas. While the heat burden is currently of the same order of magnitude as ozone, due to increasing temperatures and decreasing ozone precursor emissions, heat-related mortality could be twice as large as ozone-related mortality in 2050.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 14, no 7, article id 074013
Keywords [en]
air quality, temperature, health, climate change, modelling
National Category
Climate Research Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-161836DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab1cd9ISI: 000474788900001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-161836DiVA, id: diva2:1341426
Available from: 2019-08-08 Created: 2019-08-08 Last updated: 2019-08-08Bibliographically approved

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Orru, HansÅström, ChristoferForsberg, Bertil
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