Effects of high summer temperatures on mortality in 50 Spanish cities

Environ Health. 2014 Jun 9;13(1):48. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-13-48.


Background: Periods of high temperature have been widely found to be associated with excess mortality but with variable relationships in different cities. How these specifics depend on climatic and other characteristics of cities is not well understood. We assess summer temperature-mortality relationships using data from 50 provincial capitals in Spain, during the period 1990-2004.

Methods: Poisson time series regression analyses were applied to daily temperature and mortality data, adjusting for potential confounding seasonal factors. Associations of heat with mortality were summarised for each city as the risk increments at the 99th compared to the 90th percentiles of the whole-year temperature distributions, as predicted from spline curves.

Results: Risk increments averaged 14.6% between both centiles, or 3.3% per 1 Celsius degree. Although risk increments varied substantially between cities, the range of temperature from the 90th to 99th centile was the only characteristic independently significantly associated with them. The heat increment did not depend on other city climatic, socio-demographic and geographic determinants.

Conclusions: Cities in Spain are partially adapted to high mean summer temperatures but not to high variation in summer temperatures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cities
  • Hot Temperature / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Income
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Population Density
  • Risk
  • Seasons
  • Spain / epidemiology