Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-361
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-361
 
02 Dec 2021
02 Dec 2021
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Projected Impact of Heat on Mortality and Labour Productivity under Climate Change in Switzerland

Zélie Stalhandske1,2,, Valentina Nesa1,2,, Marius Zumwald1,2, Martina S. Ragettli3,4, Alina Galimshina5, Niels Holthausen6, Martin Röösli3,4, and David N. Bresch1,2 Zélie Stalhandske et al.
  • 1ETH Zurich, Institute for Environmental Decisions, Zurich, 8092, Switzerland
  • 2Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, Zurich-Airport, Zurich, 8058, Switzerland
  • 3Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, 4051, Switzerland
  • 4University of Basel, Basel, 4001, Switzerland
  • 5ETH Zurich, Institute of Construction & Infrastructure Management, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 6Amt für Abfall, Wasser, Energie und Luft, Canton of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Extreme temperatures have reached unprecedented levels in many regions of the globe due to climate change anda further increase is expected. Besides other consequences, high temperatures increase the mortality risk and severely affectthe labour productivity of workers. We perform a high-resolution spatial analysis to assess the impacts of heat on mortality and labour productivity in Switzerland and project their development under different Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios, considering that no socio-economic changes takes place. The model is based on the risk framework of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which combines the three risk components: Hazard, Exposure, and Vulnerability. We model the two impact categories in the same spatially explicit framework and we integrate uncertainties into the analysis through a Monte Carlo simulation. We model, that first, about 670 people die today per year because of heat in Switzerland. Second, the economic costs caused by losses in labour productivity amount to around CHF 413 million (approx. $ 465 million) per year. Should we remain on an RCP8.5 emissions pathway, these values may double (for mortality) or even triple (for labour productivity) by the end of the century. Under an RCP2.6 scenario impacts are expected to slightly increaseand peak around mid-century, when climate is assumed to stop warming. Even though uncertainties in the model are large, theunderlying trend in impacts is unequivocal. The results of the study are valuable information for political discussions and allowfor a better understanding of the cost of inaction.

Zélie Stalhandske et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-361 WBGT calculations', Jonathan Buzan, 07 Dec 2021
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-361', Anonymous Referee #1, 17 Dec 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2021-361', Anonymous Referee #2, 23 Dec 2021

Zélie Stalhandske et al.

Model code and software

Code repository Zélie Stalhandske and Valentina Nesa https://github.com/zeliest/heat_mortality_productivity_impacts

Zélie Stalhandske et al.

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Short summary
We model the impacts of heat on both mortality and labour productivity in Switzerland in a changing climate. We find that about 670 people die today per year because of heat in Switzerland and that losses in labour productivity amount to around CHF 413 million per year. Should we remain on a high emissions pathway, these values may double or even triple by the end of the century. Under a lower emission scenario impacts are expected to slightly increase and peak around mid-century.
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