Methods We provide a brief background on climate modeling and projections, designed specifically with health scientists in mind. Selection criteria for climate projections are discussed in detail, including how climate model uncertainty is addressed. Downscaled climate projection data from ten global climate models are used to project the future health burden for the period 2040-2069 for six National Weather Service regions. Future disease burden is estimated using an attributable fraction approach. Attributable fractions are calculated for each value of maximum temperature above a reference range of 88°F (average maximum temperature for Florida during historical period 2005-2012).
Results Disease burden projection results are presented by six National Weather Service regions for the average number of heat-related illness cases per year for the period of interest (2040-2069), averaged across all ten global climate models. The average projected additional heat-related illness cases per year range from 36 to 421 across regions. Results are shown by region.
Conclusions Studying the associations between climate and health outcomes is a relatively new concept, and projecting future disease of climate-sensitive outcomes from within a state or local health department is novel. The methodology presented here highlights the challenges in selecting and organizing climate projection data, calculating future health burden and the importance of partnering with interdisciplinary subject matter experts.