National assessment of human health effects of climate change in Portugal: approach and key findings

Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Dec;114(12):1950-6. doi: 10.1289/ehp.8431.


In this study we investigated the potential impact of climate change in Portugal on heat-related mortality, air pollution-related health effects, and selected vectorborne diseases. The assessment used climate scenarios from two regional climate models for a range of future time periods. The annual heat-related death rates in Lisbon may increase from between 5.4 and 6 per 100,000 in 1980-1998 to between 8.5 and 12.1 by the 2020s and to a maximum of 29.5 by the 2050s, if no adaptations occur. The projected warmer and more variable weather may result in better dispersion of nitrogen dioxide levels in winter, whereas the higher temperatures may reduce air quality during the warmer months by increasing tropospheric ozone levels. We estimated the future risk of zoonoses using ecologic scenarios to describe future changes in vectors and parasites. Malaria and schistosomiasis, which are currently not endemic in Portugal, are more sensitive to the introduction of infected vectors than to temperature changes. Higher temperatures may increase the transmission risk of zoonoses that are currently endemic to Portugal, such as leishmaniasis, Lyme disease, and Mediterranean spotted fever.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution / adverse effects
  • Climate*
  • Environmental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Environmental Health / trends
  • Heat Stress Disorders / mortality
  • Humans
  • Portugal
  • Public Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Health / trends
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate / trends