Climate may exert a strong influence on health, in particular on vector-borne infectious diseases whose vectors are intrinsically dependent on their environment. Although critical, linking climate variability to health outcomes is a difficult task. For some diseases in some areas, spatially and temporally explicit surveillance data are available, but comparable climate data usually are not. We utilize spatial models and limited weather observations in Puerto Rico to predict weather throughout the island on a scale compatible with the local dengue surveillance system.
We predicted monthly mean maximum temperature, mean minimum temperature, and cumulative precipitation at a resolution of 1,000 meters. Average root mean squared error in cross-validation was 1.24 degrees C for maximum temperature, 1.69 degrees C for minimum temperature, and 62.2 millimeters for precipitation.
We present a methodology for efficient extrapolation of minimal weather observation data to a more meaningful geographical scale. This analysis will feed downstream studies of climatic effects on dengue transmission in Puerto Rico. Additionally, we utilize conditional simulation so that model error may be robustly passed to future analyses.