Heatwaves and mortality in Ireland, planning for the future

Mathilde Pascal, John Sweeney, Elizabeth Cullen, Joel Schwartz, Patrick Goodman

Abstract


Climate change enhances the vulnerability of Ireland to extreme weather events in terms of potential adverse health impacts. To examine this, the mortality impacts of heatwaves between 1981 and 2006 were analysed, with particular reference to potential differences occurring between urban and rural areas. Heatwaves were identified during five summers: 1983, 1984, 1995, 2003 and 2006. Episodes in the 1980s were seen to have had a greater impact, especially July 1983, with 115 excess deaths recorded in rural areas. Only 14 excess deaths were reported in 2006 and none in 2003. Overall, 294 excess deaths were attributed to heatwaves. Heat is a moderate but real risk in Ireland. In the future, with climate change and the ageing of the population, it may be that more severe heat episodes will result in a larger mortality burden. It is recommended that the relevance of setting up an appropriate heat prevention plan should be considered in Ireland.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2014/igj.v46i3.278

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:irg:ie:0000-igj.v46i2.2783

URN (PDF): http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:irg:ie:0000-igj.v46i3.278.g2335

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