Between 1991 and 2018, more than one-third of all heat-related deaths were due to an increase in global air temperature. According to a model developed by scientists from the United States, Britain and Switzerland, far fewer people would have died in the world without anthropogenic climate change. This is reported in an article published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The specialists analyzed data on mortality of people from 43 countries, who lived in 732 settlements. The researchers first counted the total number of deaths by health status and associated the fluctuations of this parameter with the values of the average daily temperature during the warm season (the four warmest months following each other). In all, the analysis included about 30 million deaths between 1991 and 2015. The countries varied greatly in climate, with the average temperature of the hottest season ranging from 15 to more than 25 degrees Celsius.
In the second phase of the study, scientists calculated the heat-related mortality burden for two scenarios. The first characterized the real climatic situation in the world, and the second was based on a climate model without human influence.
In all of the countries studied, 20.5 to 76.3 percent of all deaths (37 percent on average) caused by heat during the warm season can be attributed to global warming. In some regions, such as Southern Europe, Central and South America, and Southeast Asia, the risk of heat-related deaths is particularly high, with deaths reaching several hundred per year. In Ecuador and Colombia, up to three-quarters of all heat-related deaths have been caused by global warming due to anthropogenic emissions.
The authors of the article emphasize that the noticeable increase in the number of deaths occurred only because the average temperature rose about one degree Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, which is below the limits set by the Paris Agreement (1.5-2 degrees Celsius).