Expect more deadly heat from climate change, study says

March 27, 2017 by Dennis Thompson, Healthday Reporter

Deaths related to extreme heat are expected to keep rising, even if most nations can contain global warming at agreed-upon levels, a new study reports.

Nations supporting the 2015 Paris Agreement have pledged to limit to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels.

However, events are expected to occur ever more often as the 2 degree Celsius limit is approached, researchers said.

An analysis of 44 of the 101 most populous "megacities" showed that the number of cities experiencing heat stress doubled with 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 F) of warming, researchers reported.

That trend would potentially expose more than 350 million additional people to heat stress by 2050, if population continues to grow as expected, the study authors said.

"As the climate warms, the number and intensity of increases," said lead researcher Tom Matthews. He's an applied climatologist at Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom.

"Research has shown this to be the case for the global warming experienced to date, and our research is the latest to show that we can expect even larger increases as the climate continues to warm," Matthews said.

Even if global warming is halted at Paris goals, the megacities of Karachi (Pakistan) and Kolkata (India) could face annual conditions similar to the deadly heat waves that gripped those regions in 2015.

During the 2015 heat waves in those areas, about 1,200 people died in Pakistan and more than 2,000 died in India.

These heat waves are particularly threatening to large cities containing lots of heat-absorbing asphalt and concrete, not to mention huge populations, said Dr. Georges Benjamin. He's executive director of the American Public Health Association.

"Most U.S. cities have put in place response plans to address heat waves," Benjamin explained. "That said, we still have an unacceptable number of premature deaths related to heat waves."

To examine the impact of global warming on human heat stress, the researchers used climate models and looked at how global temperature change could affect heat stress projections in the world's largest cities.

The investigators concluded that it's likely there will be more land surface area exposed to dangerous heat stress. They also noted that areas already experiencing will have more frequent and longer heat waves.

The United States will not be immune to this global phenomenon, Matthews warned.

"Our research does not explicitly focus on [the United States], but in general, if the climate continues to warm, North America should expect more frequent and intense heat waves," Matthews said.

"More fatalities could be expected, too," he added.

In 2015, 45 Americans died from extreme heat, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. Overall, more than 9,000 Americans have died from heat-related causes since 1979, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The National Weather Service defines "dangerous" heat as a heat index of about 105 degrees Fahrenheit, said Jennifer Li, senior director of environmental health and disability with the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

Protecting people from heat waves will involve precautions that range from infrastructure down to community aid, Li and Benjamin said.

"Preparing for extreme heat waves includes reviewing building design and refurbishing existing buildings to increase energy efficiency and decrease internal temperatures," Li said.

"Adapting to extreme heat waves can include updating and modernizing the electrical grid to ensure it is prepared to withstand peak demand during more frequent, more intense and longer-lasting heat waves," she said.

Large cities should establish plans for "cooling centers" to which people can flee on the hottest days, much like heating centers that are provided during frigid conditions, Benjamin said.

City health officials can also distribute fans to people who don't have air conditioning, and issue reminders in the spring for people to have their cooling systems serviced, he added.

Internationally, officials should take these results as a further sign that global warming needs to be confronted through resolute action, Li added.

"This study reveals that the global warming limits set by the Paris Climate Agreement should not be considered a safe amount of global warming," Li said.

"Further, interventions should be prioritized to slow the rate of global while at the same time increasing preparedness, mitigation, and adaptation efforts. Populations will be disproportionately impacted and vulnerable populations may be unprepared to manage the risks of extreme ," she added.

The new study was published online March 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Explore further: Climate change may lead to higher prevalence of CKD

More information: Communicating the deadly consequences of global warming for human heat stress, PNAS, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1617526114

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2.2 / 5 (20) Mar 27, 2017
I am a Texan. It has never been so hot here as the summer of 1980/81. Never.
Go tell another lie elsewhere. Tell it to somebody who has not yet lived it.
Perhaps they are fool enough to believe you.
I swung a machete through the cross-timber woods then and not a breath of moving air and the temp was 130 degrees in the shade then. Hot? It ain't been so hot since.
1.7 / 5 (17) Mar 27, 2017
When the Greenlanders have been raising cattle, wheat and barley and have done so for around 400 years, give me a call...

It's still too cold.
3.8 / 5 (20) Mar 27, 2017
I am a Texan.
The smarter Texans are ex-Texans.
130 degrees
According to Nat'l Climatic Data Center, the highest temp ever recorded in Texas was 120F in 1994.

Go tell another lie elsewhere.
4.1 / 5 (13) Mar 27, 2017
The terrible heat is killing off Everything, all my, crops, cattle, goats starved to death AGW in it's truest sense, we need everyone to see the consequences to be on a broad scale if we don't change to clean alternatives.
1.7 / 5 (18) Mar 27, 2017
Majority of these "heat" records are in major city's of populations over 2 million people.
That's a giant man made heat island effect that is never mentioned ??
Heat record's going back no more than 60 years is not much of a record.
1930's dust bowl, i don't see anything close than that?
1.2 / 5 (18) Mar 27, 2017
Given the predictions back GW was first 'discovered' we should all be dead already.... well most of us.
1.4 / 5 (21) Mar 27, 2017
Take a look at the historical death per temperature at this link (e.g. from New York).

It shows we are better and better at adapting to any kind of heat waves, and death by heat have been dramatically declining for the last century.

What's with all of this hype?

Mark Thomas
4.3 / 5 (22) Mar 27, 2017
The Koch Brothers say burning their $100B in oil won't cause any problems at all, and you can believe them because Texans don't lie. :-)

Meanwhile, a month ago according to the Dallas News . . .

"It's shaping up to be the warmest winter on record in Dallas-Fort Worth."

4.6 / 5 (19) Mar 28, 2017
Given the predictions back GW was first 'discovered' we should all be dead already.... well most of us.

false; nobody claimed we would all die from it.
This stupid nonsense of "we are all going to die!" only comes from those that DENY GW as part of their straw man to put words into scientists and concerned people's mouths. GW is both a scientific fact and nobody claims we are all going to die from it. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything about it.
4.3 / 5 (18) Mar 28, 2017

It shows we are better and better at adapting to any kind of heat waves, and death by heat have been dramatically declining for the last century.

What's with all of this hype?

So you went and bought a 4kW split cycle air con for granny, aren't you a good boy then?
Did you go and get one for the local bird population or amphibians in your area? Or does the fact that these have been declining not concern you? It's probably more likely that things like this happen in poor countries and so it doesn't matter, and probably isn't happening anyway, well, because, it's not in your face and making you deal with it up close and personal. Nothing like deferred responsibility and plausible deniability, especially when it's to yourself.
Mark Thomas
3.9 / 5 (19) Mar 28, 2017
Troll: "There have been times when it has been warmer than it is now."

Sure, but . . ."The last time the Earth was this warm was 125,000 years ago"


It is hard to derive any comfort from the fact that it was warmer more than 100,000 years before the development of agriculture. Even worse, carbon dioxide levels have not been this high in millions of years, so even that record may be surpassed as temperatures continue to climb, climb, climb.
1.6 / 5 (13) Mar 28, 2017
More FAKE "science" from the AGW Cult.
1930s dust bowl, more intensive and extensive heat waves.
3.5 / 5 (16) Mar 28, 2017
If you did not know how those things were determined, why were you so sure you were right?

I suggest some education, like the rest of us experienced. Or, read the studies themselves. They are not written by businessmen or salesmen.
Captain Stumpy
4.4 / 5 (13) Mar 28, 2017
to force people to accept a flawed farce of a theory such as AGW?
you tried making this argument elsewhere but you have yet to provide anything but your opinion

if AGW is false, why is there so much empirical evidence supporting it and you have nothing refuting it?

your argument is no different than the x-tians claims that evolution isn't real
Mark Thomas, try to read something actually scientific
are you going for hyperbole, irony or blatant stupidity with that one?
I have sent you studies and science and the best you have to offer is judith curry ( https://phys.org/...ate.html )

so arguing that someone else needs to read something scientific is again no different than x-tians arguing their religion is scientific

this is relevant and contains more science than you've posted above: https://xkcd.com/1732/
Captain Stumpy
4.4 / 5 (14) Mar 28, 2017
@earthling-TROLL cont'd
It is basic chemistry and biology that CO2 is plant food, along with the necessary nitrates in the soil
it is also basic chemistry and biology that iodine is required for human life, along with other necessary stuff... but you wouldn't want to drink it straight from a bottle, nor would you want too much in your body at any one time

I suggest you review the basic sciences before continuing to post to a science site with people willing to actually provide answers to the BS denier posts you spread around

more importantly, no one is arguing that CO2 isn't plant food... the scientists are proving that (much like iodine and humans) over-saturation and overexposure is really, really stupid and detrimental

i already listed those studies - i can reference them again, but i doubt you koch supported deniers would care to read them again

the last idiot simply ignored all the references and kept repeating the false claims and dogma
4.3 / 5 (16) Mar 29, 2017
How can you know what the levels of CO2 were in the atmosphere before records were being kept? Who measured them and how?

But samples have been taken and kept on ice for the last 800,000 years and now analyzed.
It is quite clear and uncontroversial.
Less accurate and more controversial are the various proxy measurements, but all more or less in agreement and becoming more accurate every year.
4.7 / 5 (13) Mar 29, 2017
"Earthling Too" - you are engaged in fecal regurgitation. You eat the same tired old shit, and then puke it back up - only to eat and puke again, eat and puke again. Not only this really makes you look stupid, but if gives you very bad breath.

I understand that your delusions are slave drivers - you must desperately search for means to validate them, every waking moment. That is what drives those who do not believe in or practice science to frequent sites like this. Delusional validation, and NOTHING MORE.

I have lost my tolerance for those who refuse to give up the filthy habit of fecal regurgitation, so you just made my IGNORE list.
4.7 / 5 (12) Mar 29, 2017

As for those who insist on acting like petulant children by engaging in name-calling, personal attacks, vulgar langauge, and intolerance to any other opinions but theirs, you have already won the race to be first on the Ignore list. Until you behave otherwise that's where you'll remain, which makes it easier to read through the comments section :)

O i'm cracking up... You Bonobo antigorillicle sock trying to make as if any of your dumb opinions matter...You forgot, you are the monkey being played for decades now on this site, that's where you Will remain indefinitely. Scientists present empirical evidence, The Opinions are from well respected commenters, unlike You bafooning about from one Science article to another, It sure makes it easy and fun both at the same time, revealing your stupidity to the world, and so it will remain ;)
4.7 / 5 (12) Mar 29, 2017
Mark Thomas, try to read something actually scientific, not USA Today. You are the troll.

How can you know what the levels of CO2 were in the atmosphere before records were being kept? Who measured them and how? What was the standard used and what was the baseline? Many studies claim CO2 was actually much higher in the distant past which led to the abundance of plant life. This in turn fed the entire food chain and helped bring mankind to the forefront.

If current CO2 levels bother you so much that you want to help lower them, just stop breathing.

no YOU are the troll monkeynuts,
You need to keep enroll with new sockpuppets as your earthling moronic sockpuppet to cover up your embarrasing comments every odd week, your colossal amount of flawed opinions is exposed everyday and has been exposed for decades.
4.7 / 5 (12) Mar 29, 2017
to force people to accept a flawed farce of a theory such as AGW? @earthling-TROLL
you tried making this argument elsewhere but you have yet to provide anything but your opinion

if AGW is false, why is there so much empirical evidence supporting it and you have nothing refuting it?

your argument is no different than the x-tians claims that evolution isn't
I have sent you studies and science and the best you have to offer is judith curry ( https://phys.org/...ate.html

Typical antigoracle trait, running away when presented with Evidence, pretending not to see the evidence and still banging his head on that brick wall, every time he types a letter in the back of his mind it rings "o why am i doing this, why am i doing this" but against proper judgement of instinct, he keeps fooling himself that the mountain of real evidence isn't real and keep on banging that keyboard like a imprisoned clown escaping from a madhouse.
5 / 5 (5) Mar 29, 2017
Sorry, "Earthling Too", I did not read your reply. I see you are still engaged in fecal regurgitation, but I no longer smell your breath.

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