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Climate change linked to premature death of 1,500 Swedes between 1980 and 2009, study finds
Global warming increases the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves.
Researchers have discovered that climate change increased the number of deaths in Stockholm, Sweden between 1980 and 2009. According to a news release from Umea University, the increased temperatures precipitated by climate change in Stockholm during this time period led to 300 more premature deaths than if the temperature increase did not occur. Umea University researchers estimate that approximately 1,500 more premature deaths took place in Sweden as a whole.
Global warming increases the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves. Earlier research has revealed that these alterations are linked with increased mortality, especially during very bad heat waves.
Researchers studied the magnitude to which death linked with extreme temperatures took place in Stockholm during the period 1980-2009. In order to determine what can be considered extreme temperatures, they examined in contrast temperature information from this period with the equivalent data from the period 1900 to 1929.
The study reveals that the quantity of periods of very high temperatures increased considerably over the period 1980 to 2009, all of which led to approximately 300 more deaths during these heat waves than had been the case without climate change.
“Mortality associated with extreme heat during the relevant period was doubled, compared to if we had not had some climate change,” notes Daniel Oudin Åström, a PhD-student in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. “Furthermore, we saw that even though the winters have become milder, extremely cold periods occurred more often, which also contributed to a small increase in mortality during the winter.”
Although the rise in the quantity of deaths because of extreme temperature overall is in truth small over a 30-year period, Åström notes that the study only takes into consideration the City of Stockholm. If the technique had been utilized in all of Sweden, the rise in the quantity of deaths would have been much bigger.
Also, the researches only studied death in very extreme temperatures. Thus, the quantity of early deaths as a result of less extreme temperatures is not a part of this study.
The researchers point out that regardless of the enduring conversation about climate change, Swedes have not altered their opinion and eagerness to defend themselves against extreme temperatures.
“The study findings do not suggest any adaptation of the Swedes when it comes to confronting the increasingly warmer climate, such as increased use of air conditioning in elderly housing,” notes Åström. “It is probably because there is relatively little knowledge in regards to increased temperatures and heat waves on health.”
The study’s results can be found in the journal Nature Climate Change.