Int J Biometeorol. 2023 Jan 2. doi: 10.1007/s00484-022-02414-y. Online ahead of print.
Extreme ambient temperatures are well-known for their adverse impact on public health, in the form of increased mortality and morbidity due to respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases. However, to capture the total impact of weather on cause-specific mortality/morbidity, the synoptic atmospheric conditions over the region under study need to be taken into account. The objective of this work is to identify weather types over Thessaloniki, Greece, statistically associated with mortality from circulatory and respiratory diseases, in an attempt to holistically determine the impact of weather on cause-specific mortality in the region. For this purpose, we employed datasets from the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis comprising intrinsic daily data, gridded at a resolution of 2.5°×2.5° and covering a 41-year period (1980-2020). The first set used contains data of 500 hPa and 1,000 hPa geopotential heights for the main geographical domain of the Mediterranean region (30°N-45°N, 10°Ε-35°E). The second set comprises meteorological variables (2 m temperature, specific humidity, 2 m zonal and 2 m meridional wind and total cloud cover) for a geographical domain of north Greece (40.95°Ν, 22.50°Ε-26.25°E). We applied a combination of principal components analysis (PCA) as a dimensionality reduction tool and k-means cluster analysis (CA) in order to group days with homogeneous synoptic meteorological parameters. The derived weather types were statistically correlated with respiratory and mortality data for the time-period 1999-2018. It was concluded that the most fatal conditions for public health in Thessaloniki were associated with weather types bringing low/extremely low ambient temperature over north Greece.