We know that the rise in temperatures contributes to the appearance of ever more frequent and dramatic climatic hazards. Periods of heavy rains follow episodes of intense cold which themselves follow deadly heat waves. What we knew less, however, is how much these periods of heat waves can kill.
According to a study published on Monday, May 31, 2021, nearly 100,000 people worldwide die from heat waves directly linked to climate change; or 37% of the total heat-related deaths worldwide. According to the researchers, this mortality is not due exclusively to the gross rise in summer temperatures but also to the duration of the heat waves, to the increase in night temperatures compared to those of the day and to the humidity rate. For Antonio Gasparrini, lead author of the study and professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, these results demonstrate that “climate change is not something that comes from the distant future. We can measure the negative impacts on health, in addition to the environmental and ecological effects already known ”.
The authors of this study further underline that the results obtained by means of complex modeling methods, could be below reality insofar as it was not possible to obtain reliable data from the countries of the region. Central Africa or South Asia which are, however, strongly impacted by heat waves.
For the rest of the world, the breakdown of results is more precise. In developed countries, the United States, Australia, France, Great Britain or Spain, the numbers of deaths attributable to warming vary from 35% to 39%, but this average rises above 40% in countries like Mexico , South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam or Chile. And it exceeds 60% in some countries like Brazil, Peru, Colombia, the Philippines, Kuwait or Guatemala.
Proof that extreme weather phenomena do not only destroy nature, they also affect living things .