Heat and Health in the Changing Climate (HEATCLIM)

Organization: University of Eastern Finland

Lead Researchers: Timo Lanki, Sakari Karvonen, Risto Kosonen, Kirsti Jylhä

Year: 2020 -

The overall objective of the project is to produce new knowledge on the effects of high temperatures on human health in northern areas, and to provide cost-effective and socially acceptable solutions to adapt to climate change. The consortium project is genuinely multidisciplinary, covering natural, health, and social sciences and engineering, which enables versatile approaches to research questions. The project is coordinated by the University of Eastern Finland; other participants are Aalto University, Finnish Meteorological Institute, and Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.


During the project, epidemiological analyses of health register data will be performed to evaluate the effects of heat and heatwaves on morbidity and mortality, and to identify susceptible population groups. Social and economic determinants of heat vulnerability will be evaluated using a questionnaire study, complemented with interviews and scenario work. A field study, including environmental and physiological measurements, will be conducted to create thermal comfort models for vulnerable population groups, and to evaluate the efficiency of local cooling methods. Climate modelling will be conducted to improve heat wave predictions for early warning systems and climate scenarios, and to calculate of cooling capacity needs in future climate.


In the last, integrative step of the project, health impact of heat in different climate, societal and adaptation scenarios will be assessed. Results will be used to guide policy makers on the scaling and targeting of adaptation measures. Central questions to be answered include:

  • How will the burden of disease caused by heat change in Finland because of climate change?
  • Which adaptation options are most efficient considering health effects, costs of the measures, and greenhouse gas emissions?
  • How do the costs of adaptation and health effects affect the Finnish economy?