Seasonal Temperature Variability and Mortality in the Medicare Population

James P. Healy, Mahdieh Danesh Yazdi, Yaguang Wei, Xinye Qiu, Alexandra Shtein, Francesca Dominici, Liuhua Shi, Joel D. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Seasonal temperature variability remains understudied and may be modified by climate change. Most temperature–mortality studies examine short-term exposures using time-series data. These studies are limited by regional adaptation, short-term mortality displacement, and an inability to observe longer-term relationships in temperature and mortality. Seasonal temperature and cohort analyses allow the long-term effects of regional climatic change on mortality to be analyzed. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to carry out one of the first investigations of seasonal temperature variability and mortality across the contiguous United States. We also investigated factors that modify this association. Using adapted quasi-experimental methods, we hoped to account for unobserved confounding and to investigate regional adaptation and acclimatization at the ZIP code level. METHODS: We examined the mean and standard deviation (SD) of daily temperature in the warm (April–September) and cold (October–March) season in the Medicare cohort from 2000 to 2016. This cohort comprised 622,427,230 y of person-time in all adults over the age of 65 y from 2000 to 2016. We used daily mean temperature obtained from gridMET to develop yearly seasonal temperature variables for each ZIP code. We used an adapted difference-in-difference approach model with a three-tiered clustering approach and meta-analysis to observe the relationship between temperature variability and mortality within ZIP codes. Effect modification was assessed with stratified analyses by race and population density. RESULTS: For every 1°C increase in the SD of warm and cold season temperature, the mortality rate increased by 1.54% [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.73%, 2.15%] and 0.69% (95% CI: 0.22%, 1.15%) respectively. We did not see significant effects for seasonal mean temperatures. Participants who were classified by Medicare into an “other” race group had smaller effects than those classified as White for Cold and Cold SD and areas with lower population density had larger effects for Warm SD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number077002
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Seasonal Temperature Variability and Mortality in the Medicare Population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this