Transforming the Temperature Forecasts into Mortality Predictions

We proved that the predictability of the temperature forecasts can be transformed into skilful Temperature-Attributable Mortality (TAM) predictions. Figure 1 shows how the predictability skill decays as a function of the lead time of the temperature forecasts (left) and TAM predictions (right). We see that the average skill for the ensemble of regions is similar for temperature and TAM, but the spread between regions is higher in TAM. This is associated with the epidemiological models that we used to transform the temperatures into TAMs, which preserve the average skill but widen the range of region-to-region differences.

Figure 1. Decay in the predictability skill of the temperature forecasts (left) and Temperature-Attributable Mortality (TAM) predictions (right) for lead times from 0 to 15 days. Colored lines correspond to the individual regions in Southern (red), Western (purple) and Central (blue) Europe, and the thick black curve to the whole European domain. Forecasts are considered to be skilful when the skill is higher than 0.6 (horizontal dashed line).

How Will the Operational System Look Like?

Once operational, the TAM system will generate daily predictions of temperature-attributable deaths at the same lead times than the driving weather or subseasonal-to-seasonal climate forecasting scheme. Figure 2 is a good example of how it will look like, it shows the temperature forecast (left) and the Temperature-Attributable Mortality (TAM) prediction (right) for several lead times (1, 7, 15 days) before the 2012 European cold wave in January 27 - February 17, 2012. The observed cold temperature anomaly could be predicted one week in advance, but not beyond. Similarly, the same pattern is found for TAM, with also skilful predictions one week ahead of the event, but not at longer lead times.

Figure 2. Temperature forecast (°C, left) and Temperature-Attributable Mortality (TAM) prediction (daily deaths per million inhabitants, right) of the 2012 European cold wave (January 27 - February 17, 2012) for several lead times (1, 7, 15 days).
Blue-Action is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Programme and specifically by the Blue-Growth BG-10-2016 call "Impact of Arctic changes on the weather and climate of the Northern Hemisphere". The Blue-Action project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 727852.