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Attribution of mortality to the urban heat island during heatwaves in the West Midlands, UK

Overview of attention for article published in Environmental Health, March 2016
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (92nd percentile)

Mentioned by

2 news outlets
1 blog
1 policy source
2 tweeters
1 video uploader


110 Dimensions

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235 Mendeley
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Attribution of mortality to the urban heat island during heatwaves in the West Midlands, UK
Published in
Environmental Health, March 2016
DOI 10.1186/s12940-016-0100-9
Pubmed ID

Clare Heaviside, Sotiris Vardoulakis, Xiao-Ming Cai


The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect describes the phenomenon whereby cities are generally warmer than surrounding rural areas. Traditionally, temperature monitoring sites are placed outside of city centres, which means that point measurements do not always reflect the true air temperature of urban centres, and estimates of health impacts based on such data may under-estimate the impact of heat on public health. Climate change is likely to exacerbate heatwaves in future, but because climate projections do not usually include the UHI, health impacts may be further underestimated. These factors motivate a two-dimensional analysis of population weighted temperature across an urban area, for heat related health impact assessments, since populations are typically densest in urban centres, where ambient temperatures are highest and the UHI is most pronounced. We investigate the sensitivity of health impact estimates to the use of population weighting and the inclusion of urban temperatures in exposure data. We quantify the attribution of the UHI to heat related mortality in the West Midlands during the heatwave of August 2003 by comparing health impacts based on two modelled temperature simulations. The first simulation is based on detailed urban land use information and captures the extent of the UHI, whereas in the second simulation, urban land surfaces have been replaced by rural types. The results suggest that the UHI contributed around 50 % of the total heat-related mortality during the 2003 heatwave in the West Midlands. We also find that taking a geographical, rather than population-weighted, mean of temperature across the regions under-estimates the population exposure to temperatures by around 1 °C, roughly equivalent to a 20 % underestimation in mortality. We compare the mortality contribution of the UHI to impacts expected from a range of projected temperatures based on the UKCP09 Climate Projections. For a medium emissions scenario, a typical heatwave in 2080 could be responsible for an increase in mortality of around 3 times the rate in 2003 (278 vs. 90 deaths) when including changes in population, population weighting and the UHI effect in the West Midlands, and assuming no change in population adaptation to heat in future.

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 235 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 235 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 49 21%
Researcher 42 18%
Student > Master 41 17%
Student > Bachelor 28 12%
Student > Doctoral Student 10 4%
Other 20 9%
Unknown 45 19%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Environmental Science 61 26%
Engineering 35 15%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 21 9%
Social Sciences 15 6%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 13 6%
Other 34 14%
Unknown 56 24%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 26. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 22 November 2021.
All research outputs
of 19,519,615 outputs
Outputs from Environmental Health
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Environmental Health
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Altmetric has tracked 19,519,615 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 94th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 1,385 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 29.0. This one has done well, scoring higher than 83% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 275,020 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 92% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them