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Global warming is already responsible for one in three heat-related deaths

New estimates indicate that the regions of Central America, South America and Southeast Asia are the most affected

Based on an article by: The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London

Heat wave. Photo:
Heat wave. Photo:

More than a third of all deaths that occurred during heat waves between 1991 and 2018 were attributed to human-caused global warming, according to a new article published inNature Climate Change .

The study, the largest of its kind, was led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University of Bern as part of the Multi-State Collaborative Research Network (MCC). Using data from 732 locations in 43 countries around the world, the true contribution of human-made climate change in increasing the risks of heat-related mortality is seen for the first time.

Estimates show that 37% of all heat-related deaths in recent summers can be attributed to anthropogenic warming of the earth (ie warming caused by human activity). This proportion of heat-related deaths attributed to human-caused climate change was highest in Central and South America (up to 76% in Ecuador or Colombia, for example) as well as in Southeast Asia (between 48% and 61%).

Excess mortality due to the climate crisis

The study also provided estimates showing the number of deaths as a result of extreme weather associated with climate change in specific cities; 136 additional deaths per year in Santiago de Chile (44.3% of all heat-related deaths in the city), 189 in Athens (26,1%), 172 in Rome (32%), 156 in Tokyo (35,6%), 177 in Madrid (31.9 %), 146 in Bangkok (53.4%), 82 in London (33.6%), 141 in New York (44.2%), and 137 in Ho Chi Minh City (48.5%). The researchers claim that their findings are further evidence of the need to take strong policies to reduce future warming and implement interventions to protect populations from the negative consequences of heat exposure.

Dr. Anna Mewisdo-Cabrera, from the University of Bern and lead researcher on the study said: "We expect that the rate of heat-related deaths will continue to increase if we do not do something about climate change. So far the average global temperature has only risen by one degree Celsius, which is a small fraction of what we might face if emissions continue to grow unchecked."

Global warming affects our health in several ways, from direct effects related to fires and extreme weather, to changes in the spread of vector-borne diseases. Perhaps the most surprising statistic is the increase in heat-related mortality and morbidity. Scenarios of future climate conditions predict a considerable increase in average temperatures, with extreme events such as heat waves leading to a future increase in the health burden. However, no research has been conducted that has examined to what extent these effects have already occurred in recent decades.

This new study focused on man-made global warming through 'detection and attribution' research that identifies and attributes observed phenomena to changes in climate and weather. Specifically, the team looked at past weather conditions in scenarios with and without anthropogenic emissions. This allowed researchers to separate the warming and health impact associated with human activity from natural trends. Heat-related mortality was defined as the number of heat-attributable deaths occurring at exposures above the optimal temperature for human health, which varies between locations.

While on average over a third of heat-related deaths are due to human-induced climate change, the impact varies widely across regions. Climate-related heat casualties range from a few dozen to a few hundred deaths in each city, as shown above, depending on the local changes in climate in each region and the vulnerability of its population. It is interesting to note that populations living in low- and middle-income countries, which were responsible for a small part of anthropogenic emissions in the past, are the most affected.

In the UK, 35% of heat-related deaths can be attributed to human-caused climate change, corresponding to around 82 deaths in London, 16 deaths in Manchester, 20 in the West Midlands or 4 in Bristol and Liverpool each summer season.

Professor Antonio Gasparini of LSHTM, senior researcher in the research group and coordinator of the MCC network, said: “This is the largest discovery and attribution study on the current health risks of climate change. The message is clear: climate change will not only have a devastating effect in the future, but every continent is already experiencing the dire consequences of human activities on our planet. We must act now.”

The authors acknowledge the limitations of the study, including their inability to include locations in all regions of the world—for example, large parts of Africa and South Asia—because of a lack of empirical data.

for the scientific article

More of the topic in Hayadan:

6 תגובות

  1. Aviad
    We know how much PAD the person emits.
    We know how much energy the PADH absorption adds to the atmosphere.
    And in addition - we know that we were supposed to be in a cooling period.

    And the worst thing - climate change is more serious than we thought!

    The theory is not based on chicken's knees - I would love to understand why you continue to spread this dangerous lie.

  2. The obvious statistical bias in the above theory, which was not addressed in the article-
    There are relatively more elderly people in the world than 30 years ago. Older people are more sensitive to extreme heat conditions than young people. Relatively (and of course absolutely) more people are expected to die from heat conditions, even without regard to global warming. Another example of amazing discoveries from studies whose bias stems from considerations of popularity and funding. I have a feeling that if the researchers' data analysis had shown that the change was in the opposite direction, they would not have published their article anywhere.

  3. My father, for the sake of comparison, what is the number of deaths every year on Earth? Without probing too much the number is orders of magnitude greater than what you seem to associate with heat.
    In addition, if your arguments are related to political left and right (as you wrote in your answer to another questioner), I would carefully examine all your information, since science turns out to refuse this political division.

  4. Global warming is on the back burner only among the energy tycoons, who have used their money to sway the rightists around the world. In reality there is an absolute consensus.

  5. Indeed, the climate makes people sick, but why is the FADH the sole culprit?
    Why instead of assuming that there is warming due to human action (which is highly debatable), maybe just assume that there is climate change which is a logical thing overall in a complex system like ours.
    If you were wondering why most of the dead would be in places with low to moderate income regardless of their outgoing activity, it's because maybe the amount of fusion they have has something to do with mortality and fusion, what to do, costs money.
    In short - even many deaths do not confirm theories based on chicken's knees. It's a pity for everyone, but why not think about the possibility of trying to get out of the box on a scientific level?

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