Climatologists have found that global warming may be associated with about 37% of deaths from heatstroke and other manifestations of abnormally hot weather. The research results were published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.
"We expect that this share will continue to grow in the future if humanity does not adapt to these conditions or stop global warming. In recent years, the average temperatures on Earth have risen by only one degree Celsius, which is relatively small compared to what awaits us in the future, if emissions continue to rise,”said Ana Visedo-Cabrera, a researcher at the University of Bern and one of the study's authors.
One of the main consequences of global warming is the so-called extreme weather events. By this word, scientists mean periods of abnormally high temperatures in winter, heat waves in summer, weekly heavy rains, droughts and other phenomena associated with "wrong" weather. Vivid examples of this are the flood in Krymsk in 2012 and the summer heat in Russia in 2010.
Scientists predict that the frequency of such phenomena in the future will only grow and they will affect more and more regions of the Earth. According to doctors, this will lead to a sharp increase in mortality - each extra degree of heat in the summer will increase the number of deaths by 5%.
Consequences of global warming
Visedo-Cabrera and her colleagues received the first global assessments of how much climate change has already affected the lives of the world's population in recent years. To do this, scientists studied how mortality, temperatures and the frequency of occurrence of droughts and heat waves in 732 different parts of the world, located in 43 countries, have changed in recent years.
These calculations and observations helped scientists find out how strongly the inhabitants of these corners of the Earth reacted to periods of abnormally strong heat. Using this data, climatologists estimated how the mortality rate has changed as a result of rising average summer temperatures, as well as an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events in certain regions of the world and around the planet as a whole.
On average, global warming now accounts for about 37% of deaths associated with abnormally warm weather, but this figure varies greatly across the world. In particular, these climatic processes almost did not affect the states of Northern Europe and East Asia, where they account for less than 1% of deaths from heat waves and other temperature anomalies.
On the other hand, this figure turned out to be very high for the countries of Southeast Asia, Southern Europe, Latin America, as well as many large megacities of the world, where the share of such deaths associated with the consequences of global warming is about 40-76%.
Scientists hope that the information they have collected will attract the attention of the authorities of these states and force them to develop measures that will protect the health and life of the inhabitants of these countries from heat waves and other consequences of global warming. In addition, these indicators should be taken into account when assessing the economic damage associated with climate change, concluded Visedo-Cabrera and her colleagues.