Temperature variability and mortality in rural and urban areas in Zhejiang province, China: An application of a spatiotemporal index

Kejia Hu, Yuming Guo, Xuchao Yang, Jieming Zhong, Fangrong Fei, Feng Chen, Qi Zhao, Yunquan Zhang, Gongbo Chen, Qian Chen, Tingting Ye, Shanshan Li, Jiaguo Qi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Temperature variability (TV) is a potential trigger for death in urban areas, but there is little evidence of this in rural areas. In addition, a typical TV index only considers the temporal variability of temperature and ignores its spatial variability, which should be considered due to the effects of human mobility. Here this study aimed to 1) develop a novel spatiotemporal TV index accounting for human mobility; and 2) based on this index, explore the urban–rural differences in TV–mortality associations in China. Methods: We collected daily data on fine-gridded hourly temperatures and >2 million deaths that occurred in Zhejiang province, China from 2009 to 2015. A spatiotemporal TV index was developed by calculating the standard deviation of the hourly temperatures from multi-site records over the course of several exposure days. A three-stage analysis was performed to estimate the mortality risks and mortality burdens of TV. Stratified analyses were performed by cause-specific mortality, urban/rural district, age and gender. Results: Significant associations were found between TV and all types of targeted diseases, age groups, and genders. Percentage increase in mortality associated with a 1 °C increase in TV at 0–7 exposure days were found to be higher for rural dwellers than urban dwellers in the warm season [for all-cause mortality, 2.07% (95% CI: 1.49%, 2.64%) vs. 1.16% (95%CI: 0.70%, 1.62%)]. An estimated all-cause mortality fraction of 5.33% was attributable to TV, with 4.99% in urban areas and 6.02% in rural areas. The elderly (aged 65+ years) and females were more sensitive to TV than young people and males, respectively. Conclusions: A spatiotemporal TV index was developed, considering both the temporal and spatial variability of temperatures. TV is an independent health risk factor. In China, rural areas generally suffer greater TV-related mortality risks than urban areas in the warm season. Our findings have important implications for developing area-, cause-, and group-specific adaptation strategies and emergency planning to reduce TV-related mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1044-1051
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2019


  • China
  • Hourly
  • Mortality
  • Mortality burden
  • Temperature change
  • Temperature variability

Cite this