The impacts of temperature and the urban heat island on mortality in the West Midlands and greater London

Zhang, Fang (2015). The impacts of temperature and the urban heat island on mortality in the West Midlands and greater London. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Although the direct health impact of temperature has been studied extensively, the impact of Urban Heat Island (UHI) on mortality has received relatively little attention. This PhD thesis assesses the combined impacts to distinguish the differential responses between urban and rural residents in the West Midlands and Greater London.
On the basis of comparison between MIDAS air temperature and MODIS land surface temperature, air UHI intensity (aUHII) and surface UHI intensity (sUHII) are compared during cloudless anticyclonic nights. The results identify the UHI ‘hotspots’ and stronger summer night-time UHI; Greater London possesses stronger aUHII-sUHII correlation (r~0.7) than the West Midlands (r~0.4).
U-shaped temperature-mortality relationships using fractional polynomial regression model demonstrate that the decreased winter mortality may outweigh the increased summer mortality for the West Midlands, whereas London's increased summer mortality is more significant, particularly among the vulnerable 75+ people.
This research has identified for the first time the quantitative relationships between aUHII and mortality. Overall increasing trends imply the increased impact of urban heating on mortality.
These research findings could form the basis for a better understanding of temperature (UHI)-related impacts on human health that will aid policy development to maximise health benefits and minimise the negative consequences.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences


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