The number of people who died as a result of rising temperatures in Britain over the past century reached a record high in 2013, new analysis of the National Climate Data and Research Centre has found. According to the University of Greenwich’s Professor Greg Anderson and Dr. Graham McElroy, the researchers said the number of British deaths due to a spike in cold and heat viruses around 2012 appears to have been 50 percent higher than previously assumed. The figures had suggested that the deaths related to change in the temperature temperature between 1951 and 2011 were in the order of fewer than 2,000. But the scientists found they had underestimated by half that number because they had failed to include cold viruses in the total total.
According to previous research, climate change was blamed for a third of the deaths in the 1980s and a fourth in the 1990s, but it has become clear that exposure to the change in temperature itself is directly responsible for most of the deaths. The researchers claim temperatures rising more than 3 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels between 1950 and 1950 led to more than 10,000 British deaths, followed by the other two-thirds of those. This research, which was published in the journal Climatic Change, provides an additional explanation for the increase in the number of British fatalities. Other research suggests the main culprit is a rise in the number of viruses in a few small groups.
“Viruses in an emerging class called duodenal ulcers — those caused by bacteria and viruses — spread in small numbers and can quickly cause acute illness. In recent decades, outbreaks of these viruses have also emerged in both Europe and the United States. ”
The researchers found that warmer weather was largely responsible for the increase in temperature virus deaths between the years 1951 and 1984, when temperatures were slightly less than 1 degree celsius higher than they are now. However, “as the number of flu viruses in a population increases, we can understand much more about the long-term effects of climate change,” said Anderson. “We suspect that temperature-related changes will have an increasing impact on disease-causing viruses over the next half-century. This research will help guide public health policies in the years ahead.”
With planet warming at an ever-increasing rate, the number of deaths resulting from severe cold and heat exposure is increasing. Today, half of all Australians have mild winter allergies, and asthma rate is on the rise in some parts of the country. According to climate experts, current temperatures in the UK are potentially making it harder for people to avoid getting sick, and the rates of severe heat-related illness are projected to rise as the temperature rises. The findings also highlight how current warming conditions will influence winter weather around the world, such as warmer and drier conditions in Europe and the United States, which will prompt changes in public health policies.