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Open AccessArticle

Current and Potential Future Seasonal Trends of Indoor Dwelling Temperature and Likely Health Risks in Rural Southern Africa

1
Environment and Health Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Johannesburg 2028, South Africa
2
Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0028, South Africa
3
School of Agriculture, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 3629, South Africa
4
Department of Environmental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg 2028, South Africa
5
Environment and Health Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Pretoria 0084, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(5), 952; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15050952
Received: 22 March 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 25 April 2018 / Published: 10 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Impacts of Warming of 1.5 °C and 2 °C)
Climate change has resulted in rising temperature trends which have been associated with changes in temperature extremes globally. Attendees of Conference of the Parties (COP) 21 agreed to strive to limit the rise in global average temperatures to below 2 °C compared to industrial conditions, the target being 1.5 °C. However, current research suggests that the African region will be subjected to more intense heat extremes over a shorter time period, with projections predicting increases of 4–6 °C for the period 2071–2100, in annual average maximum temperatures for southern Africa. Increased temperatures may exacerbate existing chronic ill health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cerebrovascular disease, and diabetes-related conditions. Exposure to extreme temperatures has also been associated with mortality. This study aimed to consider the relationship between temperatures in indoor and outdoor environments in a rural residential setting in a current climate and warmer predicted future climate. Temperature and humidity measurements were collected hourly in 406 homes in summer and spring and at two-hour intervals in 98 homes in winter. Ambient temperature, humidity and windspeed were obtained from the nearest weather station. Regression models were used to identify predictors of indoor apparent temperature (AT) and to estimate future indoor AT using projected ambient temperatures. Ambient temperatures will increase by a mean of 4.6 °C for the period 2088–2099. Warming in winter was projected to be greater than warming in summer and spring. The number of days during which indoor AT will be categorized as potentially harmful will increase in the future. Understanding current and future heat-related health effects is key in developing an effective surveillance system. The observations of this study can be used to inform the development and implementation of policies and practices around heat and health especially in rural areas of South Africa. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; rural setting; current and predicted future health risks; environmental health; South Africa climate change; rural setting; current and predicted future health risks; environmental health; South Africa
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Kapwata, T.; Gebreslasie, M.T.; Mathee, A.; Wright, C.Y. Current and Potential Future Seasonal Trends of Indoor Dwelling Temperature and Likely Health Risks in Rural Southern Africa. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 952.

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