Evidence syntheses of the health risks of weather and climate-related exposures: A scoping review

Date & Time
Tuesday, September 5, 2023, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Location Name
Session Type
Overviews of reviews and scoping reviews
Thomson D1, Metzendorf M2, Cumpston M3, Wieland S4, Monsef I5, Jones K6, Tong S7, Ebi KL8
1Cochrane Climate-Health Working Group, Canada
2Cochrane Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders, Germany
3Monash University and University of Newcastle, Australia
4Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field, United States
5Cochrane Haematology, Germany
6Cochrane PAPAS, United Kingdom
7Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Anhui Medical University; Nanjing Medical University; Queensland University of Technology, China and Australia
8Center for Health and the Global Environment, Dept of Global Health, University of Washington, United States

Background: Climate change is affecting the global burden of climate-sensitive health outcomes. Synthesizing the growing evidence base on climate-health risks and strategies for adaptation and mitigation is vital for effective decision-making. Although the number of published climate-health evidence syntheses is increasing each year, current methodological guidance for this type of work remains limited and requires further development to incorporate analyses of the causal chain from emission of greenhouse gases to observed human health outcomes. If author teams do not sufficiently differentiate between weather, climate variability and anthropogenic climate change in the design and conduct of a synthesis, the resultant blurring of climate change with other meteorological phenomena lessens the precision of its findings and therefore its usefulness for decision-makers. Our project to collate syntheses in which these terms have been clearly delineated and incorporated into conceptual frameworks or logic models will give us a base for developing guidance for author teams on how to handle this foundational work.
Objectives: To review how authors of climate-health evidence syntheses have used logic models and/or other conceptual frameworks to illustrate the relationship between weather, climate and climate change, and specific health outcomes.
Methods: A scoping review of climate-health evidence syntheses published from 1946 to 2023. Included syntheses will be in English and will incorporate a) definitions of weather and climate variables and b) logic models and/or conceptual frameworks relating climate change processes to specific health determinants and outcomes. Thematic analysis will be conducted of the findings.
Results: The full results will be presented at the Colloquium, along with recommendations for synthesis author teams.
Conclusions: Cochrane must take a leadership role in developing evidence synthesis methods that are aligned to the task of strengthening health resilience to climate shocks. In this presentation, we will focus on recommendations to improve the rigour and utility of reviews by focusing on how synthesis teams can adequately include considerations of the causal pathways and linkages between climate change exposures and health outcomes. Relevance and Importance to Patients: Climate change is a global health issue; improved methods for evidence syntheses on climate-health topics will help to contribute to better health outcomes.