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The urban environment is a key determinant of population health and health inequalities. In particular, the urban heat island effect, which causes temperatures to rise in cities, is known to exacerbate the effects of heat on population health.

To help decision-makers in the health sector to formulate appropriate strategies and emergency plans, the’s urban climate service for health will comprehensively describe the associations between the urban environment, the local climate, the daily mortality registers and the socio-demographic profiles of cities at a neighbourhood level.

By working together with the end-user Barcelona Public Health Agency (ASPB), summer temperature-daily mortality relationships will be studied by overlaying high-resolution temperature data from the urban climate model UrbClim and spatially-detailed mortality and sociodemographic data of ASPB.

The service will also be used to describe the future relationship between the urban climate and human health as a result of rising temperatures. This association will be inferred from climate simulations at the urban scale for different greenhouse gas scenarios and driving climate models.

The service will:

  • Build on research from previous initiatives at the continental, national and regional levels in order to understand the role of the urban heat island effect.
  • Identify the main vulnerable population groups, e.g. by studying the role of age, sex and the different causes of death associated with elevated temperatures.
  • Provide assessments and projections based on socio-demographic and urban data to better understand the role of climate change and non-climate factors, with the final aim of implementing adaptation measures and plans.

The information provided will enable decision-makers to better understand the impacts of urban climate and climate change on human health.

The focus will be on demonstrating the added value of urban climate information, in particular concerning the urban heat island effect. This will lead to the development of health policies that can ultimately contribute to reducing the negative impacts of climate change on population health.

Climate change, the ageing of European societies, and the growing population living in urban environments are pressing threats for our immediate health. We need to address these challenging problems by means of services that are driven by relevant stakeholders and designed for the populations at risk.
Dr. Joan Ballester, Assistant Research Professor, ISGlobal
Climate Fit 2017-2019 PUCS. All rights reserved.
European Union’s H2020 Research and Innovation Programme is developed as part of the PUCS project, which has received funding from the European Union’s H2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 73004