Australia has had the hottest temperatures for a thousand years (according to some). We’ve “shattered records” yet even so, at the peak of this hot era — six times as many Australians were felled by cold weather. Lord help us when the next ice-age comes.
A study on Australian deaths from 2000-2009 found that heat, cold, and temperature variability killed 42,000 people which was about 6% of all deaths. Of those temperature related deaths 60% were due to the cold. 28% were due to sudden changes in temperature. A mere 10% were due to heat.
Greenhouse gases should help prevent 90% of those deaths (they reduce temperature variability too). Looks like we need to burn more coal. For the sake of the vulnerable and needy.
When are our government and our government broadcaster going to start dealing with real problems, not fake ones?
Don’t assume we just got lucky. According to an ABC heatwave panic story, deaths from heatwaves during this 2000-2009 decade were among the worst.
The ABC warns us repeatedly of the dangers of a few hot days
A search for “ABC Cold Death Warning” turns up a story of a dead cook in a freezer.
The greatest percentage increase in mortality was for cold (2.0%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.4%, 2.6%), followed by heat (1.2%, 95% CI: 0.7%, 1.7%), and temperature variability (0.5%, 95% CI: 0.3%, 0.7%). There was no clear temporal pattern in mortality risk associated with any temperature exposure in Australia. Heat, cold and temperature variability together resulted in 42,414 deaths during the study period, accounting for about 6.0% of all deaths. Most of attributable deaths were due to cold (61.4%), and noticeably, contribution from temperature variability (28.0%) was greater than that from heat (10.6%).
Exposure to either cold or heat or a large variation in temperature was associated with increased mortality risk in Australia, but population adaptation appeared to have not occurred in most cities studied. Most of the temperature-induced deaths were attributable to cold, and contributions from temperature variability were greater than that from heat. Our findings highlight that, in addition to heat and cold, temperature variability needs to be considered in assessing and projecting the health impacts of climate change.
Cheng et al (2019) Impacts of heat, cold, and temperature variability on mortality in Australia, 2000–2009, Science of The Total Environment,Volume 651, Part 2, 15 February 2019, Pages 2558-2565, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.10.186