Evaluating the association between extreme heat and mortality in urban Southwestern Ontario using different temperature data sources
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Urban areas have complex thermal distribution. We examined the association between extreme temperature and mortality in urban Ontario, using two temperature data sources: high-resolution and weather station data. We used distributed lag non-linear Poisson models to examine census division-specific temperature–mortality associations between May and September 2005–2012. We used random-effect multivariate meta-analysis to pool results, adjusted for air pollution and temporal trends, and presented risks at the 99th percentile compared to minimum mortality temperature. As additional analyses, we varied knots, examined associations using different temperature metrics (humidex and minimum temperature), and explored relationships using different referent values (most frequent temperature, 75th percentile of temperature distribution). Weather stations yielded lower temperatures across study months. U-shaped associations between temperature and mortality were observed using both high-resolution and weather station data. Temperature–mortality relationships were not statistically significant; however, weather stations yielded estimates with wider confidence intervals. Similar findings were noted in additional analyses. In urban environmental health studies, high-resolution temperature data is ideal where station observations do not fully capture population exposure or where the magnitude of exposure at a local level is important. If focused upon temperature–mortality associations using time series, either source produces similar temperature–mortality relationships.