What are the effects of climate variables on COVID-19 pandemic? A systematic review and current update
Malihe Moazeni1, Mohammad Rahimi2, Afshin Ebrahimi3
1 Department of Environmental Health Engineering; Student Research Committee, School of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
2 Department of Combat Desertification, Faculty of Desert Studies, Semnan University, Semnan, Iran
3 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Health; Environment Research Center, Research Institute for Primordial Prevention of Non-Communicable Disease, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
|Date of Submission||30-May-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||19-Jan-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||25-Feb-2023|
Dr. Afshin Ebrahimi
Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Health, Hezar-Jerib Ave., Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, 81676 − 36954
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
The climatological parameters can be different in various geographical locations. Moreover, they have possible impacts on COVID-19 incidence. Therefore, the purpose of this systematic review article was to describe the effects of climatic variables on COVID-19 pandemic in different countries. Systematic literature search was performed in Scopus, ISI Web of Science, and PubMed databases using (“Climate” OR “Climate Change” OR “Global Warming” OR “Global Climate Change” OR “Meteorological Parameters” OR “Temperature” OR “Precipitation” OR “Relative Humidity” OR “Wind Speed” OR “Sunshine” OR “Climate Extremes” OR “Weather Extremes”) AND (“COVID” OR “Coronavirus disease 2019” OR “COVID-19” OR “SARS-CoV-2” OR “Novel Coronavirus”) keywords. From 5229 articles, 424 were screened and 149 were selected for further analysis. The relationship between meteorological parameters is variable in different geographical locations. The results indicate that among the climatic indicators, the temperature is the most significant factor that influences on COVID-19 pandemic in most countries. Some studies were proved that warm and wet climates can decrease COVID-19 incidence; however, the other studies represented that warm location can be a high risk of COVID-19 incidence. It could be suggested that all climate variables such as temperature, humidity, rainfall, precipitation, solar radiation, ultraviolet index, and wind speed could cause spread of COVID-19. Thus, it is recommended that future studies will survey the role of all meteorological variables and interaction between them on COVID-19 spread in specific small areas such as cities of each country and comparison between them.
Keywords: Climate, coronavirus, COVID-19, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
|How to cite this article:|
Moazeni M, Rahimi M, Ebrahimi A. What are the effects of climate variables on COVID-19 pandemic? A systematic review and current update. Adv Biomed Res 2023;12:33
|How to cite this URL:|
Moazeni M, Rahimi M, Ebrahimi A. What are the effects of climate variables on COVID-19 pandemic? A systematic review and current update. Adv Biomed Res [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Mar 31];12:33. Available from: https://www.advbiores.net/text.asp?2023/12/1/33/370359
| Introduction|| |
The COVID-19 (new coronavirus disease) is confirmed in Wuhan, China, on December 30, 2019. The World Health Organization proved COVID-19 disease as a pandemic that spread to all countries in the world on March 11, 2020.,, The coronaviruses are a member of the Coronaviridae family. They are viruses with single-stranded RNA and infect the human's respiratory system., Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), an agent of COVID-19, is a kind of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus and has genetically varied from SARS coronavirus 1 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.
Respiratory viruses, especially SARS-CoV-2, can be transmitted through an infected persons' microdroplets and contact with contaminated surfaces., Moreover, COVID-19 spread can be caused by various factors, such as immunity of the host, population density, quality of medical care, and environmental variables. The relationship between climatic variables, environmental pollution, and COVID-19 incidence is still worrying and under investigation.,
Based on the intergovernmental panel on climate change report, climatic change has been increased, and it can cause changes in the extreme daily temperatures to the second half of the 20th century. Meteorological factors, such as temperature, wind speed, humidity, precipitation, and solar radiation, that are related to climatic change might impact the epidemics. There is an epidemiological hypothesis about the transmission of viral infections via droplets in cold and dry environments, with lower absolute humidity and temperature. According to this hypothesis, humid and warmer climates, with higher absolute humidity and temperature, are not a suitable condition for the survival of infection viruses., In addition, in vitro experiments have indicated that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be steady at 4°C. Therefore, it might survive and cause infectivity differently with the changing climatic parameters. Thus, the relationship between climatic variables and prevalence of COVID-19 is important.
Many studies have surveyed the effect of climatic variables on the COVID-19 pandemic. The study by Qi et al. reported that low humidity and temperature increased COVID-19 incidence in China. In addition, Ahmadi et al. stated that exposure to low amounts of humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed can cause a high COVID-19 incidence in Iran. Meteorological factors can be different in various geographical locations with different climates., Thus, COVID-19 incidence might be different in various regions. Therefore, the influence of climatic variables with considering geographical areas is important on COVID-19 incidence. This study as a systematic review aims to describe the effect of climatic variables on the COVID-19 pandemic based on studies of different countries.
| Materials and Methods|| |
A systematic manner of the present study was search in Scopus, ISI Web of Science, and PubMed databases using (“Climate” OR “Climate Change” OR “Global Warming” OR “Global Climate Change” OR “Meteorological Parameters” OR “Temperature” OR “Precipitation” OR “Relative Humidity” OR “Wind Speed” OR “Sunshine” OR “Climate Extremes” OR “Weather Extremes”) AND (“COVID” OR “Coronavirus disease 2019” OR “COVID-19” OR “SARS-CoV-2” OR “Novel Coronavirus”) keywords. The studies search was performed on April 11, 2021. The limitations of the search included: the year in the range from 2020 to 2021 years, English language, and excluded editorials, conference papers, reviews, and letters.
Inclusion criteria were all relevant manuscripts that assessed the effect of climatic variables on number of COVID-19 cases, deaths, recovery, incidence, etc. Exclusion criteria involved reviews, letters, editorials, conference abstracts and animal or laboratory studies, and poor-quality studies.
The studies were saved in EndNote, x8 version, and duplicate articles were removed. Then, titles, abstracts, and keywords of articles were screened in Stage 1, and relevant articles were selected. Finally, the selected papers were assessed by the reading of the full text in Stage 2. Independent reviewers performed the screening process. Then, the information was extracted from the selected papers including the first author's family name, year of publication, location of study, climate variables (temperature, humidity, wind speed, precipitation, rainfall, etc.), outcome, and findings of papers (effective climatic indicators and effects of these on outcomes as increase or decrease). The strategy of studies selection is presented in [Figure 1].
| Results|| |
Results indicate that many studies were done in the United States (US), China, and India concerning the effect of climatic variables on COVID-19 in the range from 23 to 40 articles [Figure 2]. Based on [Figure 2], authors in some countries including Italy, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Spain, and United Kingdom (UK) had studied the effect of climatic variables on COVID-19 in the range from 12 to 20 papers. Furthermore, eight articles were surveyed the effect of climatic variables on COVID-19 in Iran. Thus, other countries require more attention to the issue and survey of association between meteorological parameters and COVID-19.
|Figure 2: The number of studies included in the systematic review based on geographic area|
Click here to view
[Table 1] presents a list of 149 articles that are used in this paper. Based on [Table 1], the climatic variables' effects on COVID-19 incidence are differently related to the climatic area. The relationship between meteorological parameters is variable in geographical location. The results indicate that among the climatic indicators, the temperature is the most significant factor that influences COVID-19 in some countries. Some studies were proved that warm and wet climates can decrease COVID-19 incidence. In contrast, other studies represented that warm location can be a high risk of COVID-19 incidence with considering the effect of more meteorological parameters.
[Table 1] shows the results of countries with many studies on the association of meteorological variables and COVID-19.
Based on this, low temperature leads to an increase in number of COVID-19 cases and death in the US. In contrast, many studies reported that temperature and humidity have an inverse effect on number of COVID-19–positive cases and death in China. There was an association between COVID-19 incidence and temperature (minimum, maximum, average, and dew point), relative and absolute humidity, and wind speed in India. In addition, some studies proved positive correlation of temperature on COVID-19–positive cases. Similarly, high temperatures, ultraviolet (UV) index, heat index, and wind speed increased COVID-19 incidence; however, humidity and rainfall negatively correlated with COVID-19 incidence in Pakistan. On the other hand, minimum and mean temperature, relative and absolute humidity, and wind speed had a positive correlation with number of COVID-19 new cases in Bangladesh. In addition, the results indicated that there was a positive correlation between temperature and COVID-19 incidence in Singapore. Furthermore, the study proved that the air pressure caused increase in COVID-19 cases in China and Turkey.
| Discussion|| |
There was a role of climatic variables in the transmission and survival of agents of respiratory diseases. Climatic changes have interactions with the infection and mortality rate of respiratory diseases., Briz-Redón et al. explained how weather patterns may effect on survival and transmission of COVID-19 disease. They reported the importance of the effect of geographical areas on the link between climate change and COVID-19. Thus, in this paper, the effect of climatic variables is discussed based on the literature of different countries. Therefore, the studies that were focused on one country were selected.
About 40 studies were done in the US with the aim of the effect of climatic variables on COVID-19 incidence globally and individually [Figure 2]. Most studies reported the inverse effects of temperature with death,, and cases related to COVID-19,,, in the US. In addition, the studies by Ficetola and Rubolini and Pan et al. indicated that no correlation between climatic variables such as temperature, wind speed, and relative humidity with COVID-19 daily cases in the US., However, Bashir et al. and Bilal et al. proved the interaction of temperature, humidity, and precipitation with COVID-19 growth and death rate in the US.,
Results of studies performed in China showed inverse effect of temperature and humidity on COVID-19 cases and death.,,,,,,,,,,,, However, some studies indicated a positive correlation between temperature with number of COVID-19 cases and death. Moreover, the positive relationship between humidity and COVID-19 cases and death was proved in China.,, Lin et al.'s study indicated that the high air pressure, wind speed, and humidity can cause an increase in number of COVID-19 cases. However, Huang et al. showed no correlation between wind speed, humidity, and precipitation with the recovery rate of COVID-19 cases in China. Chowdhury et al. reported the influence of temperature, UV index, and relative humidity on the number of COVID-19 cases. In addition, the study by Wei et al. proved the interaction between meteorological variables and number of COVID-19 daily cases in China. According to this study, low temperature, high wind speed, and average precipitation can cause a high risk of COVID-19 incidence in warm areas.
Several studies showed that temperature (minimum, maximum, average, and dew point), wind speed, and relative and absolute humidity had positive correlations with COVID-19 cases and death in India.,,,,, Goswami et al. explained that there was an interaction between average temperature and relative humidity with the number of COVID-19–positive cases in India. While Gupta et al. proved no influence of climate variables on COVID-19 incidence, Kulkarni et al. and Pahuja et al. reported inverse effect of temperature and wind speed on COVID-19 cases., Moreover, Singh et al. stated inverse correlation between minimum, average, and maximum temperature, evaporation, relative humidity, and wind speed with COVID-19 incidence, but there was no correlation between sunshine and rainfall with COVID-19 disease in India. Sahoo reported that the number of COVID-19 cases had a positive correlation with temperature and a negative association by humidity in India, as well.
High temperature increased COVID-19–positive cases in Italy., However, Ceylan's study specified an opposite correlation between relative humidity and COVID-19–positive cases. They reported an opposite effect of temperature with COVID-19 cases by Hassan et al. On the other hand, Pirouz et al. described a link between weather factors and positive cases of COVID-19 in Italy.
Many studies verified the positive influence of temperature, UV index, heat index, and wind speed and the negative effect of precipitation and humidity on cases and death related to COVID-19 in Pakistan.,,,, The study by Aslam et al. indicated the effect of climatic variables on COVID-19. However, the study by Rehman and Rehman showed no relationship between temperature, humidity, sunshine, and wind speed with COVID-19 incidence, recovery, and death in Pakistan.
Studies were done in Bangladesh represented a positive association between minimum and mean temperature, wind speed, and relative and absolute humidity with the number of COVID-19 cases., In addition, the study by Haque and Rahman indicated that high temperature and humidity parameters decreased COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh. Hassan et al. evidenced that rainfall, wind speed, and wind pressure can influence COVID-19 cases. Furthermore, Islam et al. reported that 26.6°C mean temperature, 64% relative humidity, and 3 mm rainfall increased COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh.
Auler et al. reported that high mean temperature and relative humidity can increase COVID-19 cases. However, the study by Pequeno et al. showed a reverse effect of temperature on COVID-19 cumulative cases in Brazil.
Many studies had different results in Spain. Briz-Redón et al. demonstrated that there was no correlation between minimum, maximum, and mean temperature on the growth of COVID-19 cumulative cases. However, some studies indicated a link between climatic factors, especially temperature and absolute humidity by COVID-19 cases., Shahzad et al. detailed the inverse effect of temperature on COVID-19 cases, while Paez et al. stated that COVID-19 cases increased in high sunshine and temperature cause increase COVID-19 cases. Tobías et al. showed that warm and wet conditions can decrease COVID-19 incidence in Spain.
Fallahzadeh et al. reported an inverse correlation between temperature and COVID-19 cases in Iran. Ahmadi et al. stated that low humidity, wind speed, and UV index amplified COVID-19 incidence in Iran, as well. It was accepted that COVID-19 cases in warm weather were not lower than moderate and cold weather. As a result, the temperature did not influence COVID-19 incidence in Iran.
Most studies had various results in Australia. Ward et al. presented no correlation between temperature, rainfall, and wind speed with COVID-19 cases. However, there was a negative correlation with relative humidity. On the other hand, Ward et al. showed a positive correlation between COVID-19 cases and relative humidity.
The study by Şahin indicated a high effect of temperature and wind speed on COVID-19 cases. In contrast, Ince et al. exhibited a converse effect of high temperature on COVID-19 positive cases and relative humidity and a positive association of air pressure with COVID-19 positive cases in Turkey.
Some studies specified that high temperature could rise COVID-19 cases in Singapore., There was a positive connection between relative and absolute humidity and water vapor with COVID-19 cases. However, there was a negative correlation between wind speed and COVID-19 cases. Likewise, there was an inverse effect of relative humidity and rainfall on daily cases of COVID-19 in Singapore.
Ghosh et al.'s study implemented in the UK did not show a correlation between the minimum and maximum temperature, wind speed, and humidity with COVID-19. Ujiie et al. stated that low temperature intensified COVID-19 cases in Japan. Moreover, Méndez-Arriaga verified the opposite effect of temperature on COVID-19–positive cases in Mexico. There was no correlation between temperature and COVID-19 in Canada. However, Bolaño-Ortiz et al. showed that all the meteorological factors including temperature, rainfall, wind speed, and relative humidity had influence on COVID-19 spread in Argentina. There was no association between temperature and COVID-19 incidence, and relative humidity had an inverse effect on COVID-19 incidence in Finland. Aidoo et al. stated that COVID-19 daily cases increased with increasing in wind speed and atmospheric pressure and decreasing in relative humidity in Ghana. There was a negative association between temperature, wind speed, and sunshine, as well. However, there was no correlation seen between rainfall and humidity with COVID-19 cases in Indonesia. Menebo reported that high maximum and minimum temperature increased but high precipitation decreased COVID-19 incidence in Norway. In addition, Hoang and Tran verified a positive relationship between temperature and COVID-19 cases in Korea. Abdelhafez et al. reported the effect of maximum temperature, wind speed, wind pressure, and average daily solar on COVID-19 daily cases increasing in Jordan. There was a positive correlation between relative humidity but a negative correlation between temperature with COVID-19 daily cases in Malaysia. Furthermore, daily cases of COVID-19 increased due to high temperature, relative and absolute humidity, and wind speed in Thailand.
According to Briz-Redón et al.'s survey, the results of single-country studies about the effect of climate variables on the disease are more accurate.. Based on the review of studies, the significant climatic factors that were in association with COVID-19 cases and death consist of temperature, humidity, wind speed, rainfall, precipitation, UV/heat index, solar radiation, and air pressure.
| Conclusions|| |
According to the results of this review, all climate variables such as temperature, humidity, rainfall, precipitation, solar radiation, UV index, and wind speed can play a possible role in the transmission of COVID-19; however, most of the studies had contradictory results. Thus, we recommend that future studies are surveying the role of all meteorological variables and interaction between them on COVID-19 spread in specific small areas such as cities of each country and comparison between them.
This article is an invited review article. Therefore, the authors are thankful to Prof. Shaghayegh Haghjooy Javanmard, editor of Advanced Biomedical Journal.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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