Climate Change and Health

The reality of climate change has focused attention on the relationships between climate, weather, and health. Several studies in Hong Kong have found strong short-term associations between ambient temperature and both mortality and morbidity. Mortality has been found to rise during periods of both high temperature and low temperature, with hot season mortality rising when temperatures go above 28.2C and cold season mortality rising linearly with colder temperatures. High temperature effects on mortality are stronger in areas subject to the urban heat island effect. In addition hospitalizations for asthma, pneumonia, salmonella, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) also rise during periods of high temperatures, while hospitalizations for asthma, COPD, pneumonia, acute myocardial infarction, stroke, and heart failure rise substantially with colder temperatures. Further research is needed to elucidate how higher future temperatures and other manifestations of climate changes will affect mortality and morbidity in Hong Kong.