Our new paper, “Compound climate-pollution extremes in Santiago de Chile“, is published in Scientific Reports (IF: 4.996).

The paper and its supplement can be downloaded at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-023-33890-w.

Authors: Sarah Feron, Raúl R. Cordero, Alessandro Damiani, Pedro Oyola, Tabish Ansari, Juan C. Pedemonte, Chenghao Wang, Zutao Ouyang, and Valentina Gallo

Abstract: Cities in the global south face dire climate impacts. It is in socioeconomically marginalized urban communities of the global south that the effects of climate change are felt most deeply. Santiago de Chile, a major mid-latitude Andean city of 7.7 million inhabitants, is already undergoing the so-called “climate penalty” as rising temperatures worsen the effects of endemic ground-level ozone pollution. As many cities in the global south, Santiago is highly segregated along socioeconomic lines, which offers an opportunity for studying the effects of concurrent heatwaves and ozone episodes on distinct zones of affluence and deprivation. Here, we combine existing datasets of social indicators and climate-sensitive health risks with weather and air quality observations to study the response to compound heat-ozone extremes of different socioeconomic strata. Attributable to spatial variations in the ground-level ozone burden (heavier for wealthy communities), we found that the mortality response to extreme heat (and the associated further ozone pollution) is stronger in affluent dwellers, regardless of comorbidities and lack of access to health care affecting disadvantaged population. These unexpected findings underline the need of a site-specific hazard assessment and a community-based risk management.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-33890-w

Fig. 1. While socioeconomic inequalities generally drive disparities in the mortality rate, the gap between rich and poor considerably narrows during summer. (a) Annual mortality rate (number of annual deaths per 100,000 population) in individuals aged 65 and over across Santiago, averaged over the period 2010–2019. (b) Daily mortality rate in inhabitants (aged ≥ 65 years) of Santiago. (c) Daily mortality rate in inhabitants (aged ≥ 65 years) of Santiago, averaged over two periods: 1993–2002 (blue line) and 2010–2019 (red line). (d) Annual income per capita (2017 US$) across Santiago. (e) Progress of winter mortality rate in inhabitants (aged ≥ 65 years) of affluent (blue line) and deprived (red line) municipalities over the period 1992–2019. (f) Progress of summer mortality rate in inhabitants (aged ≥ 65 years) of affluent (blue line) and deprived (red line) municipalities over the period 1992–2019.