EXHAUSTION: “Exposure to heat and air pollution in Europe – cardiopulmonary impacts and benefits of mitigation and adaptation” (2019-2023)

Project Coordinator:

Study Objectives:
Frequency of extreme weather events and natural calamities are increasing as a result of climate change. In this regard, heat events and wildfires are the two major climate risks for Europe. High ambient temperature as well as air pollutants, especially fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3) during wildfires are a major risk for cardiopulmonary diseases (CPD). This project focuses on the future projection of CPD mortality and morbidity burden resulting from heat and air pollution, identification of potential adaptation strategies, analysis of health co-benefits and cost estimation of adaptation as well as climate change mitigation strategies.

Specific Objectives:

  • To establish quantitative exposure-response relationship between air temperature and CPD morbidity and mortality
  • To provide quantitative projections of occurrence and population exposures to extreme heat
  • To provide quantitative Europe-wide gridded projections of the future attributable CPD mortality and morbidity due to extreme temperatures and air pollution
  • To project economic costs of the attributable CPD cases and related benefits of adaptation options
  • To contribute to evidence-based policy-making by ensuring high impact of targeted communication and dissemination activities

Work Plan:
WP1: Management
WP2: Exposure-response relationships for CPD mortality and morbidity
WP3: High-resolution projections of climate and air pollution
WP4: Health impact projections under climate change and adaptation scenarios
WP5: Projected socio-economic impacts and benefits of adaptation and mitigation
WP6: Dissemination; exploitation and communication
WP7: Ethics requirement

Focus of the Institute of Epidemiology:
The Institute of Epidemiology leads WP2, which focuses on establishing European-wide exposure-response associations for CPD morbidity and mortality, studying also the interactive and synergistic effects of both temperature and air pollution exposures, and the effect on highly vulnerable sub-groups within the population. An additional, focus is also on investigating potential effect modifiers and thereby identifying influencing factors on adaptation strategies.

Study population:
Country wise registries together with CONOR, UK Biobank, KORA Survey 3, KORA Survey 4, RoLS, and SWEDEHEART participants.

Study areas:

Funding period: 
June 2019 – May 2023


Investigator WP2:
Helmholtz Zentrum München- Institute of Epidemiology, Neuherberg (Germany)


Partner I: Norway

  • CICERO - Centre for International Climate Research, Oslo,
    in co-operation with
  • Uio – University of Oslo , Oslo,
  • Folkehelseinstituttet – Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo,
  • Infodesignlab AS, Oslo

Partner II: Denmark

Partner III: Romania

  • Administratia Nationala De Meteorologie – National Meteorological Administration, Bucharest,

Partner IV: Portugal

Partner V: Greece

  • Ethniko Kai Kapodistriako Panepistimio Athinon – National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens,
  • Draxis Environmental, Thessaloniki,

Partner VI: UK

Partner VII: Luxembourg

  • LISER - Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research,

Partner VIII:  Italy

  • Azienda Sanitaria Locale Roma – Regional Health System, Rome

Partner IX: Finland

The European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement No 820655.

Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology
Dr. Alexandra Schneider

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