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Health impacts of weather types in Sweden – the context of climatic and demographic change

Research project This project takes an innovative approach to study present and future health burdens in Sweden arising from adverse weather conditions in an ageing society and changing climate.

We lack understanding of health impacts of the combined weather components (temperature, humidity, wind) in Sweden. Research elsewhere has shown that morbidity and mortality increase under “oppressive conditions” – cold-dry, or hot-humid weather. Projected change in oppressive weather types will increase the future health burden. The Spatial Synoptic Classification (SSC) categorizes local daily weather into one of eight types based on multiple meteorological variables. We will use the SSC to study weather impacts on all-cause hospitalizations and mortality in adults at four locations in Sweden. We will also analyze impacts on mortality and hospitalization due to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Vulnerable populations (by age, gender, social status) will be identified. We will statistically assess current impacts using register data, and future health burden, based on climate change and ageing scenarios. Our research will increase knowledge about vulnerability to adverse weather conditions beyond heat and cold effects. Findings will show how the Swedish health care system can prepare for the future when the number of vulnerable people will likely grow. From the beginning of the project, we will communicate with relevant stakeholders in order to facilitate prevention and health service planning.

Project overview

Project period

2018-01-01 2020-12-31

External funding

Formas, 2018-2020: SEK 2,995,000

Research subject

Meteorologi, Epidemiologi, Folkhälsovetenskap

Head of project

Project description

We lack understanding of health impacts of the combined weather components (temperature, humidity, wind) in Sweden. Research elsewhere has shown that morbidity and mortality increase under “oppressive conditions” – cold-dry, or hot-humid weather. Projected change in oppressive weather types will increase the future health burden.

The Spatial Synoptic Classification (SSC) categorizes local daily weather into one of eight types based on multiple meteorological variables. We will use the SSC to study weather impacts on all-cause hospitalizations and mortality in adults at four locations in Sweden.

We will also analyze impacts on mortality and hospitalization due to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Vulnerable populations (by age, gender, social status) will be identified. We will statistically assess current impacts using register data, and future health burden, based on climate change and ageing scenarios.

Our research will increase knowledge about vulnerability to adverse weather conditions beyond heat and cold effects. Findings will show how the Swedish health care system can prepare for the future when the number of vulnerable people will likely grow. From the beginning of the project, we will communicate with relevant stakeholders in order to facilitate prevention and health service planning.