Differences in heat-related mortality across four ecological regions with diverse urban, rural, and remote populations in British Columbia, Canada

Health Place. 2013 Sep;23:48-53. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2013.04.005. Epub 2013 Apr 29.


Temperature-mortality analyses are challenging in rural and remote communities with small populations, but this information is needed for climate change and emergency planning. The geographic health areas of British Columbia, Canada were aggregated into four ecoregions delineated by microclimatic conditions. Time series models were used to estimate the effect of maximum apparent temperature on daily non-traumatic mortality. The population of the coldest ecoregion was most sensitive to hot weather, while the population of the hottest ecoregion was least sensitive. The effects were consistently strongest in decedents aged less than 75 years. A province-wide total of 815 deaths was attributed to hot weather over the 25-year study period, with 735 deaths in the most populous ecoregion. The framework described could be adapted to other climatically variable regions with urban, rural, and remote populations.

Keywords: Climate change adaptation; Ecoregions; Environmental health; Heat-related mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • Hot Temperature / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Rural Population*
  • Urban Population*