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Influence of the Scandinavian climate pattern on the UK asthma mortality: a time series and geospatial study

13 Apr 2018

Objective

It is well known that climate variability and trends have an impact on human morbidity and mortality, especially during the winter. However, there are only a handful of studies that have undertaken quantitative investigations into this impact. We evaluate the association between the UK winter asthma mortality data to a well-established feature of the climate system, the Scandinavian (SCA) pattern.

Methods

Time series analysis of monthly asthma mortality through the period of January 2001 to December 2015 was conducted, where the data were acquired from the UK’s Office for National Statistics. The correlations between indices of important modes of climate variability impacting the UK such as the North Atlantic Oscillation as well as the SCA and the asthma mortality time series were computed. A grid point correlation analysis was also conducted with the asthma data with sea level pressure, surface wind and temperature data acquired from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

Results

We find that sea level pressure and temperature fluctuations associated with the SCA explain ~20% (>95% CL) of variance in the UK asthma mortality through a period of 2001–2015. Furthermore, the highest winter peak in asthma mortality occurred in the year 2015, during which there were strong northwesterly winds over the UK that were the result of a sea level pressure pattern similar to that associated with the SCA.

Conclusions

Our study emphasises the importance of incorporating large-scale geospatial analyses into future research of understanding diseases and its environmental impact on human health.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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