Deaths linked to extreme temperatures to increase

Wednesday 09th March 2022 06:35 EST

A new study conducted by a team from UCL and the University of Reading warns that deaths linked to extreme temperatures will increase by up to 42 per cent in England and Wales if temperatures rise by just 2°C. Dr. Katty Huang, lead author of the study said, “The increase in mortality risk under current warming levels is mainly notable during heatwaves, but with further warming, we would see risk rise on average summer days in addition to escalating risks during heatwaves.”

The team looked at the impact of climate change on temperature-related deaths in England and Wales. They analysed the 2018 UK Climate Projections (UKCP18) with data on temperature-related deaths today to help predict future temperature-related death rates relative to degrees of global warming.

At current global warming levels of around 1.21°C, we see a slight decrease in temperature-related deaths in winter, and a minimal net effect in summer. This means that overall, at this level of warming, we actually see a slight decrease in temperature-related deaths. However, with 2°C of warming, the death rate related to extreme temperatures surges by 42 per cent.

Dr. Huang added, “What this means is that we shouldn’t expect past trends of impact per degree of warming to apply in the future. One degree of global warming beyond 2°C would have a much severe impact on health in England and Wales than one-degree warming from pre-industrial levels, with implications for how the NHS can cope.”

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