Vulnerability to temperature-related mortality in Seoul, Korea

Ji Young Son, Jong Tae Lee, G. Brooke Anderson, Michelle L. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Studies indicate that the mortality effects of temperature may vary by population and region, although little is known about the vulnerability of subgroups to these risks in Korea. This study examined the relationship between temperature and cause-specific mortality for Seoul, Korea, for the period 2000-7, including whether some subgroups are particularly vulnerable with respect to sex, age, education and place of death. The authors applied time-series models allowing nonlinear relationships for heat-and cold-related mortality, and generated exposure-response curves. Both high and low ambient temperatures were associated with increased risk for daily mortality. Mortality risk was 10.2% (95% confidence interval 7.43, 13.0%) higher at the 90th percentile of daily mean temperatures (25 °C) compared to the 50th percentile (15 °C). Mortality risk was 12.2% (3.69, 21.3%) comparing the 10th (-1 °C) and 50th percentiles of temperature. Cardiovascular deaths showed a higher risk to cold, whereas respiratory deaths showed a higher risk to heat effect, although the differences were not statistically significant. Susceptible populations were identified such as females, the elderly, those with no education, and deaths occurring outside of a hospital for heat-and cold-related total mortality. Our findings provide supportive evidence of a temperature-mortality relationship in Korea and indicate that some subpopulations are particularly vulnerable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034027
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jul


  • climate change
  • cold
  • extreme temperature
  • heat
  • mortality
  • vulnerable populations
  • weather

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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