Scientists at the University of York in Canada have found that more children and young adults are sinking under the ice and drowning as the ice sheet on lakes and rivers is becoming less stable due to global warming.
Researchers studied about 4,000 deaths from drowning reported by police and rescuers in 10 countries, including Russia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Sweden and the United States. Scientists have also collected data on air temperatures and precipitation for each month of the year.
It turned out that an increase in air temperature in winter is a good predictor of the number of accidents on ice. However, in some countries, the share of drowning in ice water ranged from 15 to 20 percent of the total number of drowning per year.
According to scientists, the most dangerous time of the year is the beginning and end of winter, when the ice is still too thin to support the weight of a person. 50 percent of the victims are children under the age of nine. Young adults under the age of 24 who ride vehicles such as snowmobiles also die. However, when the air temperature settles around 0 degrees Celsius, the number of drowning people rises fivefold. A further rise in temperature leads to a decrease in the number of accidents due to the fact that the ice cover disappears.