Projection of high temperature-related burden of kidney disease in Australia under different climate change, population and adaptation scenarios: population-based study

Jingwen Liu, Blesson M. Varghese, Alana Hansen, Keith Dear, Geoffrey Morgan, Timothy Driscoll, Ying Zhang, Michelle Gourley, Anthony Capon, Peng Bi

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Background: The dual impacts of a warming climate and population ageing lead to an increasing kidney disease prevalence, highlighting the importance of quantifying the burden of kidney disease (BoKD) attributable to high temperature, yet studies on this subject are limited. The study aims to quantify the BoKD attributable to high temperatures in Australia across all states and territories, and project future BoKD under climatic, population and adaptation scenarios. Methods: Data on disability-adjusted-life-years (DALYs) due to kidney disease, including years of life lost (YLL), and years lived with disability (YLD), were collected during 2003–2018 (baseline) across all states and territories in Australia. The temperature-response association was estimated using a meta-regression model. Future temperature projections were calculated using eight downscaled climate models to estimate changes in attributable BoKD centred around 2030s and 2050s, under two greenhouse gas emissions scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5), while considering changes in population size and age structure, and human adaptation to climate change. Findings: Over the baseline (2003–2018), high-temperature contributed to 2.7% (Standard Deviation: 0.4%) of the observed BoKD in Australia. The future population attributable fraction and the attributable BoKD, projected using RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, showed a gradually increasing trend when assuming no human adaptation. Future projections were most strongly influenced by the population change, with the high temperature-related BoKD increasing by 18.4–67.4% compared to the baseline under constant population and by 100.2–291.2% when accounting for changes in population size and age structure. However, when human adaptation was adopted (from no to partial to full), the high temperature-related BoKD became smaller. Interpretation: It is expected that increasing high temperature exposure will substantially contribute to higher BoKD across Australia, underscoring the urgent need for public health interventions to mitigate the negative health impacts of a warming climate on BoKD. Funding: Australian Research Council Discovery Program.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100916
Number of pages12
JournalThe Lancet Regional Health - Western Pacific
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Attributable risk
  • Burden of disease
  • Climate change
  • High temperature
  • Kidney disease

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