Despite the current torrential and seemingly abashing wave of destructive storms and the wettest beginning to a year for over 200 years, new research reveals that a steep rise in global temperatures is due to increase the number of heat related deaths by 2050.
As a result of climate change the UK is expected to see an increase of around 257 per cent with the elderly being the group most at risk. The bulk of the increase in deaths will come during the summer months as temperatures soar.
The study focused on temperature fluctuations between 1993 and 2006. Their aim was to determine whether changing weather patterns have any effect on mortality rates. Their research would suggest there would be a significant impact.
Using a projection of climate temperature and population increases they were able to generate an estimate for temperature related deaths.
The researchers say the number of days which the UK is expected to experience hot weather is expected to triple by 2080. They are predicting that we will experience an increase in heat related deaths of approximately two percent or every one Celsius rise in global temperatures. The number of cold days is also expected to fall.
The research also suggest that there would be a small drop off in deaths during the winter period as temperatures rise and we experience milder winter conditions.
The team of researchers predicted that as early as the 2020s we will see an increase of 66 percent in heat related deaths. The research stated that the negative effects of rising global temperatures will fall disproportionately on the elderly with those over 75 most at risk.
Britain currently sees regional variations in temperature related deaths and this trend is expected to continue. The south of England and the midlands will bear the brunt of temperature rises and as a result protection from hot weather is predicted to become a major health issue over the next century.
Rising fuel costs may exacerbate the problems as people struggle to keep their homes cool in the increasingly long summer months. The added stress that higher temperatures will put on the body will exacerbate existing health conditions such as reparatory problems says the co-author of the paper Dr Sotiris Vardoulakis.
The effects of an aging population in conjunction with climate change are becoming clear and countries that are set to experience an increase of their elderly populations over the next century will have the most public health problems.
The researchers state that future planning is vital to mitigate the effects of more extreme hot weather. They state that failure to plan now could see the country fail to cope with these extreme weather events.
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