Evaluating mortality response associated with two different nordic heat warning systems in riga, Latvia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background and objectives: Progressing climate change is accompanied by a worldwide increase in the intensity, frequency, and duration of heat wave events. Research has shown that heat waves are an emerging public health problem, as they have a significant impact on mortality. As studies exploring this relationship are scarce for Latvia, this study aims to investigate the short-term associations between heat waves and all-cause mortality as well as cause-specific mortality, during the summer months (May-September) in Riga. Materials and Methods: An ecological time series study using daily reported mortality and temperature data from Riga between 2009 and 2015 was employed. Heat waves were defined based on the categories of the Latvian and Swedish heat warning system. Using a Quasi-Poisson regression, the relationships between heat waves and all-cause as well as cause-specific mortality were investigated. Results: Heat waves in Riga were associated with a 10% to 20% increase in the risk of all-cause mortality, depending on the applied heat wave definition, compared to days with normal temperature. In addition, heat-related mortality was found to increase significantly in the ≥65 age group between 12% and 22% during heat waves. In terms of cause-specific mortality, a significant increase of approximately 15% to 26% was observed for cardiovascular mortality. No significant associations were found between heat waves and respiratory or external causes of mortality. Conclusion: These results indicate that there are short-term associations between heat waves and all-cause as well as cardiovascular mortality in Riga and that heat waves therefore represent a public health problem in this Baltic city.


External organisations
  • Riga Stradins University
  • Umeå University
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health


  • Heat warning systems, Heat waves, Latvia, Mortality
Original languageEnglish
Article number7719
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch