Extreme temperatures have long been associated with adverse health impacts, ranging from minor illness, to increased hospitalizations and mortality. Heat-related mortality during summer months is likely to become an increasing public health problem in future due to the effects of climate change. We performed a health impact assessment for heat-related mortality for the warm months of April–September for the years 2004 to 2009 inclusive, for the city of Nicosia and for Cyprus as a whole, based on separately derived exposure-response functions. We further estimated the potential future heat-related mortality by including climate projections for southern Europe, which suggest changes in temperature of between 1 °C and 5 °C over the next century. There were 32 heat-related deaths per year in Cyprus over the study period. When adding the projected increase in temperature due to climate change, there was a substantial increase in mortality: for a 1 °C increase in temperature, heat related mortality in Cyprus was estimated to double to 64 per year, and for a 5 °C increase, heat-related mortality was expected to be 8 times the baseline rate for the warm season (281 compared with 32). This analysis highlights the importance of preparing for potential health impacts due to heat in Cyprus, particularly under a changing climate.
- Climate change
- Public health