On heat-related mortality of elderly citizens in an Asian megacity

As one of our final outputs for the “S-14” project, we have recently published a paper entitled, “Future increase in elderly heat-related mortality of a rapidly growing Asian megacity” in Scientific Reports. The work was done together with Dr. Nisrina S. Darmanto, Prof. Yasushi Honda, Prof. Tomohiko Ihara, and Prof. Manabu Kanda. Prof. Honda and Prof. Ihara are experts of heat-related mortality. Combining their expertise with the urban weather modeling tools of our group (Dr. Nisrina, Prof. Kanda, and I), we were able to link weather to health. 

The target area was the megacity of Jakarta during the August months of the 2010s (2006 – 2015) and the 2050s (2046 – 2055). In the paper, we attempted to estimate future heat-related elderly mortality while considering both the effects of global climate change and urbanization (distributed urban parameters representing building morphology, urban cover, and anthropogenic heating).

Below is an interactive map showing the estimated heat-related elderly deaths for the months of August 2010s and 2050s. The estimates were based on the statistics of bias-adjusted modeled daily maximum temperatures, and elderly population projections. The future scenarios consider best-case (RCP26CC; compact city) and worst-case (RCP85BaU; business-as-usual) climate change / urbanization scenarios.  The findings suggest that August heat-related elderly mortality are expected to rise in the 2050s due to elderly-population increase and warming. However, the mortality count under “compact city” scenario is 17.34% lesser than a “business-as-usual” scenario.

The elderly heat-related maps (click on layers below to show estimates under various scenarios) can assist policy-makers in identifying critical (or potentially risky) locations for heat stress. The modeling tool used in the study (e.g. mapping urban growth, weather modeling) were also designed for easy implementation in other cities. Further improvements to the work include more relative-risks estimates for multiple cities, and consideration of heat-adaptation models, which assumes that humans are physically capable of adapting to warming environments after long-term exposure.

The paper can be accessed here.