Killer Climate Change: Deaths on the Rise

Climate Change Deaths

Scientists say that because of the increasing temperatures associated with climate change, deaths from heat exposure appear to be on the rise.

The problem, they say, is that when temperatures go up, it causes longer, more frequent and hotter heat waves.  Even without the effects of global warming, heat waves tend to be killers, with hundreds of American dying each year .  And, with it, they tend to be much worse.

Some researchers at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at Umeå University in Sweden wanted to test to see just how much climate change might be affecting death rates in their country so they took data for the years 1980 through 2009 and compared it with data for the years 1900 through 1929.

What they found in their study was that the temperature increased significantly during the 1980 through 2009 time frame, causing about 300 additional deaths over what had occurred during the cooler time period.

According to Daniel Oudin Åström, the PhD student who conducted the study, this represents a doubling of the number of deaths that would normally be expected if climate change were not occurring.

In addition, Åström says that, despite milder temperatures in the winter, there were still more periods of extremely cold weather than before, which also added to mortality rates.

Although 300 additional deaths might seem like a small figure, Åström notes that this number is only for the Stockholm area.  If the data is extrapolated to larger areas, the number becomes larger.  For example, it has been estimated that 1,500 more people in the entire country of Sweden have died during the past 30 years due to climate change.

Somewhat surprisingly, however, Åström says that the Swedish people do not appear to be doing anything to protect themselves from higher temperatures, such as installing more air conditioning for the elderly.  This is probably because there is relatively little knowledge about how heat waves affect public health, he said.  Extreme temperatures have not historically been the norm for the country.

If you live in a place which frequently deals with heat waves, the National Weather Service makes the following recommendations for keeping yourself safe when temperatures soar:

  • Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day.
  • Keep children, the elderly and those with health problems in the coolest places possible.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Avoid meats and other protein foods, which tend to increase your metabolism and increase water loss.
  • Drink plenty of water, but avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can increase water loss.
  • Stay in air-conditioned places during the hottest part of the day, even if this means leaving home and going to a store, library or other public place.
  • Avoid getting sunburned, which reduces your body’s ability to disperse heat.
  • Do not take salt tablets unless you have been advised to do so by a doctor.

The article about climate change deaths was published on October 21, 2013 in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Written by:  Nancy Schimelpfening

Sources:

Climate Change Increased the Number of Deaths

Heat:  A Major Killer

Sweden:  Weather and Climate

4 Responses to Killer Climate Change: Deaths on the Rise

  1. Jim Steele October 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    There methods section also says urbanization at .7C degrees. Sounds like urbanization is the bigger issue

    Reply
  2. Jim Steele October 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Also according to climate scientists looking at tree rings and temperatures in northern Scandinavia, the 1940s were the warmest period. Read Esper 2012 http://landscapesandcycles.net/image/75158734_scaled_586x204.png

    Reply
  3. Jim Steele October 23, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Population doubled during that time, increasing by a half million. What was the change in deaths per 100,000 people?

    Reply
  4. David Nutzuki (@DavidNutzuki) October 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    News Editors,
    Prove to us deniers that science has ever agreed that a CO2 crisis will happen eventually not just “could” happen “possibly”.
    Not one IPCC warning says; “inevitable” or “unavoidable” and nothing beyond “could be” swimming in “maybes”.
    You climate blame believers cannot say it will happen because science has not. Deny that.
    What has to happen for science to end this debate and finally give us a real warning for a real crisis.

    Reply

We will read your comment immediately so leave a remark!

RSS Guardian Express

  • Iranian Messi a Target for European Elite: World Cup Preview [Video] April 20, 2014
    A number of Europe’s elite clubs are targeting a young forward dubbed the “Iranian Messi” before he is selected to represent his country at the 2014 World Cup. Rubin Kazan forward Sardar Azmoun is a rising star and he is tipped to win senior honors at the big event in Brazil. Premier League side Arsenal […]
    Robert Shepherd
  • Los Angeles Times Building Scare April 20, 2014
    A scare at the Los Angeles Times building resulted in a lockdown and search of the entire premises. Suspect, Matthew Lowes, was detained by police and taken without incident from the second floor of the building. The second floor of the Times building has space rented by VXI Global Solutions, which Lowes works for. Lowes […]
    Raul Hernandez
  • Indiana Pacers Struggles Continue April 20, 2014
    The Indiana Pacers’ late-season struggles continued as the team lost to the visiting Atlanta Hawks yesterday by a score of 101-93. When the team is playing its best, the offense features a balanced attack. In order for the offense to hum, the team needs balanced scoring from the inside and outside. Against the Hawks, Roy […]
    William Costolo
  • Influenza B Virus Making a Strong Spring Appearance April 20, 2014
    The Influenza strain B virus is making a strong appearance, although spring is not its usual time of year. This strain of the flu is not the same one that was making people sick mid-winter. This means that even if someone has already had the virus once this flu season, they can still get it […]
    Twanna Harps
  • Toronto Raptors Have Bitten Off More Than They Can Chew April 20, 2014
    If you look at the day the city of Toronto and their beloved Toronto Raptor’s had, it would be really easy to come to the conclusion that the  Toronto Raptors have bitten off more than they can chew. Toronto Sun Times readers were greeted with an incendiary cover , featuring a picture of Kevin Garnett […]
    Daryl McElveen

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 628 other subscribers

Quantcast