While cold surge is one of the most conspicuous features of the winter monsoon in East Asia, its impact on human health remains underexplored. Based on the definition by the Central Weather Bureau in Taiwan, we identified four cold surges between 2000 and 2003 and collected the cardiovascular disease mortality data 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after these events. We attempted to answer the following research questions: 1) whether the cold surges impose an adverse and immediate effect on cardiovascular mortality; 2) whether the people living in temperate zones have a higher tolerance of extreme temperature drop than those in the subtropics. With geographic weighting techniques, we not only found that the cardiovascular disease mortality rates increased significantly after the cold surges, but also discovered a spatially varying pattern of tolerance to cold surges. Even within a small study area such as Taiwan, human reaction to severe weather drop differs across space. Needless to say, in the U.S., these findings should be considered in redirecting policy to address populations living in warm places when extreme temperature drops occur.
Science of The Total Environment 407(10), pp.3421–3424