Death and Climate Change

According to various studies and numerous web postings climate change is already causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and will cause millions more in the future, dominantly in poor countries (see inset). In this post we take a brief look at how these estimates were arrived at and whether they have any firm observational or statistical backup. The conclusions are, well, interesting.

I looked at three major reports that estimated how many deaths climate change is causing and is going to cause in the future. In order of appearance these were:

Climate change – Quantifying the health impact at national and local levels, World Health Organisation 2007.

Climate Change, the Anatomy of a Silent Crisis, Global Humanitarian Forum 2009.

Climate Vulnerability Monitor – a Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet, DARA International 2012.

Only the second two reports had enough banner headline material to catch the attention of the media. According to the Guardian the Global Humanitarian Forum report showed that “Climate change is already responsible for 300,000 deaths a year and is affecting 300m people …. It projects that increasingly severe heatwaves, floods, storms and forest fires will be responsible for as many as 500,000 deaths a year by 2030”. According to Reuters the DARA report showed that “More than 100 million people will die and global economic growth will be cut by 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change”. Both of these reports, however, contain over a hundred pages (the second over 300) of text, graphics and photographs, and as far as I can see without going through them in detail, which I don’t have the time to do, no hard backup data. They are more political manifestos than scientific assessments.

The first report (the “2007 report”) did not catch the attention of the media because it gave little in the way of banner headline material. One has in fact to go all the way down to table A2 on page 58 to find the report’s estimate of climate change deaths – 166,000 in 2000. However, it did adopt a somewhat more scientific approach and even contained some backup data, so this is the report we will take a closer look at here.

The methodology the 2007 report uses to estimate climate change deaths is too complex to be described in detail, but the basics are summarized in Section 2.5:

This approach is reasonable, but the 2007 report gives only one example where disease rates can be quantitatively related to a climate variable – child diarrhea versus temperature in Lima, Peru, which reportedly shows an 8% change in incidence for each 1 degree C change in temperature:

Figure 1: Child deaths from diarrhoea versus temperature, Lima, Peru

If these are all the hard data the 2007 report can provide then it clearly does not have enough data to estimate worldwide climate deaths from other sources (malnutrition, malaria, cardiac arrest, extreme weather events etc.) The report also uses only data from Peru, Australia and Fiji, and one can question whether these are applicable to the rest of the world. It does, however, provide a long list of references, and we will assume that the data necessary to make meaningful quantitative global, regional and source-by-source mortality assessments are to be found somewhere in them.

Now to the 2007 report’s results. These are summarized in Table A2 in the Appendix, which presents the report’s estimates of climate change deaths in 2000 by cause and subregion:

Subregion locations are shown in Figure X below.

Figure 2: World Health Organization subregions (note that no map of these subregions is provided in the 2007 report)

A defect of the 2007 report is that while it estimates deaths from climate variables it never gets round to comparing them with a climate variable. If it did, and if the report’s conclusions were correct, we would expect to see a positive relationship between deaths and changes in the climate variable. I rectified this omission by constructing XY plots of deaths against temperature change, which is the variable the 2007 report makes most use of. I used several hundred of the unadjusted GHCN v2 temperature records contained in “Roger Andrews climate data” (also accessible in the sidebar) to estimate surface air temperature changes between the 1951-80 “baseline” temperatures and 2000-2010 mean temperatures in the different subregions, thereby matching the period shown in Figure 1b of the 2007 report. It was not possible to do this for all the subregions, but by reconfiguring boundaries and population-weighting the mortality and temperature change estimates to take the boundary changes into account I came up with the results shown on the following table:

I then used these results to construct an XY plot of climate-caused deaths against 1951-80 to 2000-2010 surface air temperature change:

Figure 3: Deaths from climate change versus change in surface air temperature between 1951-1980 and 2000-2010 means, degrees C

The data points show considerable scatter and the trend line shows only weak levels of correlation (R squared is close to zero). Yet the overall trend is negative, not positive, which is the opposite of what we would expect to see if rising temperatures indeed caused increased mortality. But unfortunately the data are too scattered to allow us to conclude with any confidence that climate change is actually good for us.

Figure 3, however, is a global plot. It takes no account of the fact that warming in recent decades has been stronger in the Northern Hemisphere than in the Southern. When we segregate the subregions into those entirely or dominantly in the Northern Hemisphere and those dominantly in the Southern we see a more consistent picture:

Figure 4: Figure 3 data segregated by hemisphere

The correlations are now much stronger (R squared = 0.71 in the Northern Hemisphere and 0.83 in the Southern). Taken at face value these results can be interpreted to mean that rising temperature save lives in the Northern Hemisphere but kill people in the Southern. A more realistic interpretation, however, is that with the arguable exception of deaths caused by winter cold versus deaths caused by summer heat, we don’t have enough data to say whether climate change has any impact on human mortality, if indeed it has any impact at all.

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40 Responses to Death and Climate Change

  1. Dave Rutledge says:

    Hi Roger,

    This is the area where the climate advocates have been least honest. If you study, for example, the outstanding work of Yuming Guo et al.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4180721/

    it is clear that cold kills and heat is easily mitigated by air conditioning.Global warming is not a health risk.

    Dave

    • robertok06 says:

      Hello:
      you are right, the nice article you’ve provided is clear.
      One could summarise it with “”a bit colder” kills way more than “a bit warmer”” (as long as long term slow “global warming” effects are concerned… therefore GW –> saves The effect of days of extreme temperature was substantially less than that attributable to milder but non-optimum weather. <—
      This evidence has important implications for the planning of public-health interventions to minimise the health consequences of adverse temperatures, and for predictions of future effect in climate-change scenarios."

      Enjoy.

      R.

      • robertok06 says:

        Hello again:

        don’t know what happened… the message I just sent here above is not what was intended to be.

        The part after ” therefore GW –> saves “… should read:

        “… therefore GW saves lives, as is well explained in this other study partly from the same authors of the paper you have linked:

        http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(14)62114-0.pdf

        “Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study”, The Lancet Vol 386 July 25, 2015 p369-375.

        “Interpretation
        Most of the temperature-related mortality burden was attributable to the contribution of cold.

        The effect of days of extreme temperature was substantially less than that attributable to milder but non-optimum weather.

        This evidence has important implications for the planning of public health interventions to minimise the health consequences of adverse temperatures, and for predictions of future effect in climate-change scenarios.”

        It is evident that all these dire predictions about health effects are simple scare mongering… as usual.

        Cheers,

        R.

  2. The story that the Middle East has warmed up by 1C is not supportable by any local data. It seems to be based on NASA or something like that.

    Cairo, for example, was much warmer 50 years ago than it is today. It also was even drier.

    Here is a typical example of the ongoing nonsense. Of course, the Delta of Egypt is shrinking. What is supposed to happen when the silt from Ethiopia ends up at the bottom of Lake Nasser?

    “A sinking Delta would add more fuel to an already tumultuous economic reality. ”

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/world-report/2015/04/03/climate-change-is-consuming-the-nile-delta-and-egypt-with-it

    Unlike the old Aswan dam, the High Dam does not let the river through when the flood arrives.

    Here is a more honest appraisal of what is going on:

    “Coastal erosion is severe in some areas, especially at the Rosetta and Damietta promontories. Efforts to stop the overall coastline retreat have been largely unsuccessful. Other areas of the Egyptian Mediterranean coastline are stable or have accreted.”

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11269-015-0916-z

    They knew all this stuff long before the dam was built.

    • Wookey says:

      “The story that the Middle East has warmed up by 1C is not supportable by any local data. It seems to be based on NASA or something like that.

      Cairo, for example, was much warmer 50 years ago than it is today. It also was even drier.”

      Nasa’s temperature datasets are good, and whilst there are a few areas around the world that have cooled rather than warmed over the last century, I’m not aware of the eastern end of the Med or the rest of the Middle East being one of them. Do you have some data to support this assertion?

      ‘The Middle East’ is of course a much larger area than just Cairo. Do you have a temp series there that demonstrates the drop there? (I failed to find one in a quick search just now, but I presume there is a station there with a decent history)

  3. Jim Brough says:

    There is a clear correlation between temperature and the incidence of hospital admissions for diarrhoea in Lima. The correlation is clearly seasonal and it would be scientifically unsound to use the data to use in a model to predict the effects of “climate change”.

    I have a rather tattered copy of “The Report to the Second Club of Rome” . This was the start of modelling the future. Reading it now you will find that the only prediction it got right was population growth.

    In 1993 Greenpeace commissioned a study by the Stockholm Environment Institute which used modelling to predict that renewables would make it possible to abandon nuclear power by 2010.
    Truth is we are still building nuclear reactors while subsidised renewables in Australia are affecting grid stability.

  4. Joe Public says:

    Studies claiming climate change causes hundreds of thousands of deaths and will cause millions more in the future, dominantly in poor countries ignore the elephant in the room. Humankind is thriving. Dominantly in those very same poor countries.

  5. gah789 says:

    The reports that you cite are notably poor in a literature that has never been strong at the best of times. In particular, the WHO was trying to jump on a bandwagon and relied work undertaken by people with very strong prior beliefs using methods that ignore most of the problems involved in projecting mortality rates in a rapidly changing world. Surprisingly, some of the stuff in IPCC reports is somewhat better, though even that is too impressed by small scale studies that take no account of the impact of economic development.

    If it were to occur, the key causes of climate-related mortality are usually argued to be malaria and heat waves (e.g. the excess mortality during the French heat wave of 2003). However, malaria rates are strongly influenced by income and economic development, while the impact of occasional heat waves is completely different from a regular pattern of seasonal high temperatures. Once you start to control properly for these factors the levels of future excess mortality in a warmer world will be completely different from the projections based on micro studies.

    There is a fundamental, though largely hidden, dispute between those who believe that the way to project future mortality is to use macro statistical models – e.g. country data of the kind you show – and those who believe that such efforts are compromised by the “ecological fallacy” – i.e. making inferences about epidemiology from population studies. Of course, the latter ignore the fact that projections of future mortality rates deal with populations not individuals. In the absence of any clear or agreed methodology, the field is left open to poorly executed extrapolations based on relationships which take little or no account of economic, social and other factors.

  6. Euan Mearns says:

    This shows GDP. It should be obvious that climate change has caused the N to become wealthy and the S poor.

    • Here’s another way of looking at it:

      The deaths, if any, were caused by poverty, not climate. Unless of course climate causes poverty ….

      Everyone a bit shell-shocked over here today.

      • Euan Mearns says:

        Unless of course climate causes poverty ….

        See my comment above 😉

        Always look on the bright side. A more appropriate title for this post might have been Death of Climate Change 🙂

        And the crooks on Wall St may get relocated to the Mexican border to try their hand at Wall building.

        It would be good to see your chart plotted per capita GDP v mean annual temperature.

  7. steve says:

    Another area of interest which has been masked by other High Court judgements was the case last week brought by lawyers for air ( or something like it) and found to be correct by other technically impoverished beaks. We may have to ban over half the cars and lorries fairly soon if they get their way. No-one seems to question the figures for mass deaths and the apparently proven link to particulates and Nox gases. As I live in London most of the time and am a bit wheezy I started to look at the data and figures for health, which are easily available from a number of sources. Deaths are accounted by disease and all the air quality analysers are online, giving current readings as are past.

    I discovered that some of the highest readings were also in places like Inverness, matching Oxford Street. proximity to the roadside was the most important. There are analysers on roof where Kings College also find that woodburning stoves provide a good part of the pollution. Then there is the car manufacturers estimate that banning all diesel cars taxis and vans in London would only make 5% difference to air quality. The whole area is unproven and muddled.

    The estimates themselves stem from UN health stats which show that some parts of Asia are extremely polluted and the main source is caused by housing not having flues for the cooker. The total deaths are allocated according to the worst levels and scaled down. Europe actually has some of the cleanest air, as does the US. The numbers for London are pure guesstimates scaled from mass surveys. It would be good if someone with analytical skills could have a look at the claims.

    A good area to start is to compare boroughs with death rates of relevant disease. I found for instance that some of the lowest death rates in the UK are in Kensington and Chelsea, wheras the worst are in Tower Hamlets- but they both have the same pollution levels.The cause may just as well be down to diet, smoking, poverty or the number of residents who used to live somewhere else.

    The strangest claim is the link between Alzheimers and particulates. Both have been rising. according to my better 1/2 the rise is because we are living longer. Women are most likely to get it than men in London, but both breathe the same air.

    https://www.londonair.org.uk/LondonAir/Default.aspx

    • Wookey says:

      Yes, woodburners are very bad for air quality – much worse than a diesel engine (but there are an awful lot more diesel engines in most towns).

      I too have been a bit skeptical of the ‘50,000 premature deaths/yr’ from air pollution in the UK numbers, but have not spent the time to try and work out the basis on which they have been calculated. There is also the matter of ‘how premature?’. A day, a week, a year, 10 years? This matters.

      Equally, I am very happy to see air quality improved by vehicle restraint in cities. It is obviously poor (from just breathing it), and there is a whole range of reasons why modal shift away from cars/lorries is a good thing (injuries, congestion, noise). It’s worth working on those things whatever the truth of the objective health effects. And if (say) 30% of the effect is woodburners, then controls on those probably need improving too (like engines, there is a _huge_ difference between the best and the worst).

      • Alex says:

        “Yes, woodburners are very bad for air quality – much worse than a diesel engine (but there are an awful lot more diesel engines in most towns).”

        I saw a quote somewhere – pre VW-gate – that a petrol lawnmower chucks out 10s of times more pollutants than a car engine. Basically, they have no emissions controls.

        Certainly wood-burners are an issue. On a winter evening you can really smell them in our village (in a fairly rural part of Germany). We used our wood burner a fair bit, but have now got bored with it and find gas heating easier. But I’m making sure I have a week’s supply of wood in case the power is cut.

  8. steve says:

    Also-https://www.theguardian.com/uk/datablog/2012/apr/12/london-health-map-local-authorities

  9. Javier says:

    Roger,

    There is a wealth of data about when during the year people die for almost every country. See for example:
    Gasparrini, A., et al. “Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study.” The Lancet 386, 9991 (2015): 369-375.
    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.724.8184&rep=rep1&type=pdf

    The conclusions are not exactly what the alarmists like to read:
    “Our findings show that temperature is responsible for advancing a substantial fraction of deaths, corresponding to 7·71% of mortality in the selected countries within the study period. Most of this mortality burden was caused by days colder than the optimum temperature (7·29%), compared with days warmer than the optimum temperature (0·42%). Furthermore, most deaths were caused by exposure to moderately hot and cold temperatures, and the contribution of extreme days was comparatively low, despite increased RRs (Relative Risks). The study was based on the largest dataset ever collected to assess temperature–health associations, and included more than 74 million deaths from 13 countries.”

    Curiously the results are solid even for tropical countries like Brazil, where moderate cold conditions kill far more people than heat.

    This has a deep logic beneath. The human species has two very extreme characteristics for being a mammal. It is one of the surface mammals with the least hair cover, and it is the mammal with a highest density of sweat glands. We are probably the mammal with the highest capacity for losing heat. Clearly a tropical species. Probably we were designed for endurance running under hot conditions that lead to rapid over-heating of our prey.

    Global warming has been hugely beneficial to humans, specially in temperate and cold climates, saving hundreds of thousands, probably millions of lives. There is no reason to think that is going to reverse. During the Little Ice Age mortality reached double digits percent several times in northern countries (the Ill Years of Scotland, the Great 1696 Famine of Finland and the Baltic Republics).

    The only thing that doesn’t change is that human stupidity has no limits.

    • Javier: Thanks for the Gasparrini et al link. I’m looking at it right now trying to understand the esoteric statistical approach and trying to make sense of the Figures. But if the conclusions are correct there’s no longer much doubt that climate change is good for you. Maybe more on this later.

      • gah789 says:

        Be very careful in how you interpret it! This article, like many others papers of this ilk, is quite misleading. It examines the timing of when people die but is described as being about the number of deaths. Over a sufficiently long period this number is constant, but variations in weather – and other factors – may lead to some deaths occurring earlier or later than might be the case if the weather was absolutely the same every day. Further, the statistical methods are the worst kind of mechanical data analysis without any clear hypotheses.

        It has been known for a long time that daily mortality rates are higher during colder months and during periods of extreme heat, so you can describe fluctuations in daily mortality as U-shaped function of some temperature variable. However, this has NO implications for what happens if the whole distribution of temperatures for a location were to shift up (or down).

        All of this is well-known to people who study issues such as the impact of air pollution on mortality. It tells one everything you need to know about the supposed value of peer review that The Lancet accepted this article for publication without making the authors explain a lot more clearly what they had or had not done.

        While some may see this as a stick to use against the sillier claims made by climate analysts, the larger problem is that it shows how much ill-conceived stuff is published on the relationships between climate and health – and lots of other thins.

        • robertok06 says:

          @gah789

          ” It tells one everything you need to know about the supposed value of peer review that The Lancet accepted this article for publication without making the authors explain a lot more clearly what they had or had not done.”

          What????
          This statement of yours is as far from reality as possible.
          The authors have explained EXTREMELY WELL what they have done, see paragraph “methods” and “statistical analysis”.
          They have used state of the art software (the “R” package) and custom made routines based on it which the authors explicitly offer to anybody who wants to see them.
          I happen to have a very good friend who does exactly this kind of statistical analysis, he also uses R and the same kind of application.

          The results and conclusions are extremely “solid”, and they hold water… no question about it. If one thinks about it just for a moment, the conclusion “a bit warmer kills a lot less than a bit colder” makes perfect sense for the human specie, since our specie could not live without some sort of “technology” (clothing and heating to start with) at temperatures lower than 21 C… most of mankind lives in areas which have an average yearly temperature of less than this.

          Anyway… this article here…

          http://econ.ucsb.edu/~olivier/D_EE_2014.pdf

          … is also full of interesting informations on this subject, and says things like…

          “Geographical mobility from Northeast to Southwest has contributed to increased longevity in the U.S”

          … if it were not the case, americans from Florida would retire in Boston, not the other way around, wouldn’t they? 🙂

          Cheers.

        • Javier says:

          gah789,

          However, this has NO implications for what happens if the whole distribution of temperatures for a location were to shift up (or down).

          You say that without any supporting evidence. If cold is an important factor in anticipating the death of people, as the study demonstrates, logic has it that less cold would reduce that anticipation.

          Historical data supports this conclusion. House heating has very much extended people’s lives in temperate countries, and even now people die when they cannot afford heating. To propose that global warming, that specially rises winter minimal temperatures, should have no beneficial effect on anticipated mortality is preposterous and unsupported.

  10. robertok06 says:

    @euan (off topic)

    Recently you’ve been cited here…

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/11/10/claim-neo-carbon-model-powers-the-world-with-100-renewable-electricity/comment-page-1/#comment-2337445

    … by some “Griff” user who claims that…

    “I saw Euan Mearns research into high pressure in winter in W Europe…

    In the year he studied 2013 there was exactly 1 day of such across the area. I think we can get round that…”

    True? Don’t think so, right?

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Roberto, you are the second person to bring this astonishing citation to my attention. I may well have done some post in 2013, but the most recent and relevant is this one from 2015:

      http://euanmearns.com/the-wind-in-spain-blows/

      I’d once again draw attention to the fact that the blog has a great search facility located just above the donate button top right. So as a useful guide, following donation of anything between £100 and £1000 why not search for something right after 🙂

      • Greg Kaan says:

        From reading Griff’s comments at WUWT, he has no interest in using the search function to find the most relevant articles but rather to cherry pick information that best supports the case for renewables.

  11. Alex says:

    It would stand to reason that areas where “staying warm” is a major problem, will – at least in the short term – benefit from the warming element of climate change. That’s perhaps why Russia is not really worried about global warming – bring it on.

    Conversely, areas of the world suffering extreme heat – and heat aggravated weather – stand to lose out. More heat is not a problem if you can afford more aircon – hello Arizona – but could be if it encourages hurricanes – hello Florida.

    Some of the regions suffer from high heat, and heat aggraveated weather, and are too poor to do much about it – Phillipines? Somalia?

    Sea level rise could of course be the slow killer – or at least, very annoying.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      The most likely outcome of excess heat in the tropics is increased convection which is already the main way that heat is transferred away from the surface. So maybe more thunder storms that transfer heat from surface to tropopause where it irradiates to space unhindered by CO2 or water vapour that are both in too low concentration that high to facilitate radiative transfer.

      • Javier says:

        There is little to no global warming in the tropics. Global warming has taken place mainly on land in the northern hemisphere and more in higher latitudes than in mid-latitudes. As you mention convection probably keeps a quite constant temperature over the tropics.

      • Wookey says:

        More (or just stronger) thunderstorms seems a likely outcome of hotter tropics. But are you proposing that the corresponding extra convection+irradiation is a significant, or understudied, feedback? Perhaps it comes under the ‘cloud effects are complicated’ area?

        • Javier says:

          Wookey,

          It is not me who is proposing it. There are lots of evidence that the world’s oceans have not been at any time in the past and probably cannot be any warmer than 31°C. That seems to be a hard limit to global warming.

          “The study lends support to a much-debated theory that a natural ocean thermostat prevents sea-surface temperatures from exceeding about 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius) in open oceans.”
          https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=111076

    • robertok06 says:

      “Sea level rise could of course be the slow killer – or at least, very annoying.”

      Sea level rise is a non-issue/fake issue, Alex!… as a matter of fact, in spite of many “catastrophic” announces about this and that, the global (averaged) sea level rise is around 3 mm/year, and most of it is in the middle of oceans, where nobody lives.

      Most of the coastal areas are seeing much smaller sea level rises, some of them even see sea level decrease (Alaska, for instance), and most of the problems with the rise are due to subsidence, mainly driven by big cities/metropolitan areas pumping ground water out of the guts of the earth… Jakarta and Bangkok (if I remember correctly) are prime examples… and Tokyo was in similar conditions back then few decades ago… they fixed the problem by having the water coming to town from distant areas, via modern acquaducts…

      If sea level rise were a real issue, the Netherlands would not exist by now.

      Cheers.

    • Wookey says:

      Sea level rise is too slow to kill many people directly.: a few in floods/storms, but mostly it generates displaced people, who are normally dealt with by putting them in camps until they can go back to the warzone/damaged city/whatever.

      But with SLR that land won’t be coming back so the death rates will be determined by how well we deal with relocating a lot of people. The worldwide record on this is not great. How well it goes probably depends on the rate of displacement which will be 10s of millions this century in Bangladesh (for example), which is already quite full and very poor. I can’t see it going very well there, unless they get a lot richer, fast.

      I thought this chap’s (Prof Andrew Guzman) assessment (talk from 2013) was realistic:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeh3vOJDXz8

  12. John ONeill says:

    ‘ If sea level rise were a real issue, the Netherlands would not exist by now. ‘
    See Doggerland
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doggerland#Discovery_and_investigation_by_archaeologists

  13. Roger Andrews says:

    A factor missing from the discussion here is exactly who are the people who die because of “extreme” heat and cold. A number of studies show that they are disproportionately old people (65 and up) whose demise is triggered by an inability to withstand “extreme” temperatures. So when we express the numbers in terms of reduced life expectancy the damage is considerably less than it would have been if the loss of life had affected all age groups equally (I can say this because I too am an old person).

    A second question is exactly what is an “extreme” temperature. During the 2003 heat wave in France temperatures of 40C (104F) killed people. A temperature of 104F in Arizona is situation normal. A deadly cold snap that kills people in London would have people in Fairbanks, Alaska breaking out their bathing suits. It’s clear that what we are measuring isn’t heat or cold at all, but preparedness. If France hadn’t run out of fans in 2003, and if people had known you could reduce room temperature simply by hanging a wet sheet in the doorway, the death toll would have been lower. And if everyone in France had had air conditioning (and enough nuclear plants to run it) there may have been no “excess” deaths at all.

    Educational level also has to be taken into account. We don’t get extreme cold here in Mexico, but many people still kill themselves during the colder spells we do get by shutting their windows tight and lighting a charcoal barbecue in the living room. The lady who cleans our house came close to killing herself and her family this way a few years ago. The outside temperature at the time was around 10C (50F).

    • Javier says:

      That is a very good point Roger. Spain had a peak mortality during the 2003 summer heat wave much lower than France, despite temperatures being higher in Spain. The difference is that it is already very hot in Spain every summer, so the increase was lower for us. It is a question of delta.

      Despite claims to the contrary, waves of extreme temperatures have not statistically increased with global warming. This is another climate change prediction that hasn’t come true. However as temperatures are higher now than during the 70’s the temperatures reached during heat waves are also higher even if the delta is the same.

      I consider this whole issue of climate change deaths and refugees as completely moot. Our adaptability goes way beyond the small changes considered. However if we fiddle with our energy reliability and start getting blackouts in the middle of the winter, that is going to kill a lot of people right away.

      • oldfossil says:

        SOME LIKE IT HOT

        I can’t handle the cold. My “normal” body temperature (oral) is 36.1°C. I have often wondered if these two facts are related. I googled “average body temperature” and learned that the range of normal body temperatures is 36.1°C to 37.5°C. I then added “by country” to my search hoping to find that those in warmer climes are cold-blooded like me, and denizens of such unpleasantly cool parts of the globe as Finland and Scotland have higher body temperatures. Alas, nobody seems to have studied this, or if they have, no correlation was found.

        I gather that large numbers of American retirees head for regions with warm climates such as Florida, not with the expectation that this will hasten death but indeed that their lives will be prolonged.

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