New study estimates years of expected life lost due to extreme temperatures

What does this have to do with the dreaded gradual warming of global warming?

Climatewire reports,

Public health officials have long known that extreme temperatures are linked to more deaths, but in one Australian city, researchers have calculated how many years of life were lost due to heat waves and cold snaps.

Using this information, scientists also projected how a climate change scenario would affect life expectancies. “We’ve seen an increase in deaths in Australia in cold and hot weather before, but that’s just the number of deaths. When you look at the number of deaths, you treat a 40-year-old’s death the same as a 90-year-old’s. Obviously, from a societal perspective, they’re not the same,” explained Adrian Barnett, a researcher at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

Barnett and his team decided to measure not only the number of deaths in temperature extremes, but differences between the ages of death and life expectancy. In other words, they wanted to find out by how many years lives were cut short. They presented their findings last month in Nature Climate Change…

After analyzing the data, Barnett found that on days when the average temperature dropped to 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), men on average lost 14 years of life and women lost 52 years. (The measurements were made based on the number of temperature-related deaths that day. Collectively, the women — who appeared less able to adapt to the cold than the men lost an aggregated total of 52 years that they might have experienced had they survived.)

When temperatures rose to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), men lost 32 years and women lost 42. In 2000, temperature extremes led to 3,077 years of life lost for men and 3,495 for women. For comparison, Barnett said 3,700 years of life are lost to breast cancer…

Click for the study abstract.

3 thoughts on “New study estimates years of expected life lost due to extreme temperatures”

  1. Assuming a mean life expectancy of 76 years for men and women, men were most likely to die from hypothermia at age 62, and women at age 24. Men were most likely to die from heatstroke at age 44, and women at age 34.
    In order to lose the claimed number of years of life. they would have to die at about those ages.
    Personally I find it not very credible that temperatures of 10 degrees or 30 degrees would cause adult humans thermal stress.
    There are people who live their entire lifetimes in temperatures below 10 degrees, and people who live their entire lifetimes in temperatures above 30 degrees.

  2. Let’s see: I was born in North Carolina and have lived in New Orleans, Michigan and Virginia. That means that I should have died several years before I was born, right?

    Parden me for being a bit skeptical.

  3. Living in Southern California I fear for my life every day the temperature goes above 85F, which is very often, almost every day in fact. I am doomed.

    I think this finding is based on that extrapolation theory from radiation research. If 25% of people die at 150F and 20% of the people die at 140F then 0.01% of the people will die at 86F. With a population of 350MM that’s 3.5MM people dieing every time the temperature goes over 86F. Clearly there is a problem.

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