Assessment of mortality risk in Poland due to cold and heat stress

Document Type : Original Article


1 Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00-818 Warszawa, Poland

2 Bioklimatologia. Laboratory of Bioclimatology and Environmental Ergonomics, Lukowska 17/55, 04-133 Warszawa, Poland


Cold and heat stress are environmental factors influencing the state of health of individuals and the wider population. There is a large body of research to document significant increases in mortality and morbidity during cold and heat waves in every climate zone. In spite of the well-documented nature of heat/cold-related health problems, only in few countries local or national authorities have developed any special adaptation strategies for their healthcare systems (HCS), with a view to addressing predicted increases in the frequency and severity of cold- and heat-stress events. Such strategies draw on epidemiological and climatological research. For example in Poland in the years 2012-2015 research project pursued to study regional differentiation in climate-related diseases in Poland, with regional-level predictions for their occurrence through to 2100. The results of the project were applied in a national strategy for adaptation to climate change This paper presents key results of the part of this project dealing with heat- and cold related mortality in various regions of Poland. Overall, in the near future a 4-28% increase in the number of days imposing heat stress is anticipated, and may result in heat-related mortality significantly higher by the last decade of the 21st century than in the years 1991-2000 (at a level between 137 and 277%).


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