Projecting Future Heat-Related Mortality in the United States under Global Climate Change

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Global climate change is anticipated to raise the overall temperatures and is likely to increase future mortality attributable to heat. Predicting future health consequences of higher temperatures at the regional, national and global level based on historical temperature-mortality relationships can be challenging due in part to the uncertainties in the location-specific temperature-mortality relationship, the heat threshold, and how populations will adapt or acclimatize. This study reviews published estimates of the warm season temperature-mortality relationships around the world and explores the heterogeneity in terms of the magnitude of the relationship and the threshold. We also investigate the potential effects of adaptation and acclimatization on the estimates of excess heat-related deaths based on empirical evidence, and propose a method that can be used in future projections to address the uncertainties. This study contributes to the literature of projecting the future public health burden of heat-related effects, which provides valuable information to climate policy decision making.



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