Record heat waves in Moldova in 2007: identification, description, and health consequences

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Michael Allen, Kent State University, Kent, OH

The year 2007 was extremely hot across south-eastern Europe, and the warmest in the history of instrumental observations in Moldova. Practically all air temperature records were broken in winter, spring and especially in summer, with numerous heat waves and an extreme shortage of precipitation. An analysis also showed that while the summer of 2007 was unusual for the current climate, its temperature regime is very similar to what is projected for the second half of this century.

This research includes the integrated climatological and epidemiological analysis of the warm period of 2007, aimed at (1) the identification of individual heat waves and their parameters (intensity, duration, etc.), and (2) the impacts of heat waves on human health (excess mortality and emergency hospital admission). Both time-series regression analysis (long-term dependence of mortality/morbidity on temperature and humidity) and heat-episode analysis were incorporated. A total of six heat waves and individual heat days during May-August 2007 occurred, with a total duration of 42 days, resulting in 234 excess deaths in four studied localities. The greatest increase of mortality was observed among the elderly population (75+) and in the city of Chisinau (6.5% against 2-3% in rural areas).