New Study Finds Extreme Heat Will Worsen Impact on Human Life
A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania has revealed that the impact of extreme heat on human life is set to worsen. The study, which analyzed mortality and temperature data from 2008 to 2019 for counties across the contiguous US, also modeled future trends based on climate change projections.
The results of the study suggest a potential increase of 162 to 233 percent in cardiovascular-related deaths due to extreme heat by the middle of this century. On average, high temperatures were responsible for 1,651 excess cardiovascular deaths annually between 2008 and 2019. However, if current environmental policies continue, this average could jump to 4,320 deaths between 2036 and 2065.
It is important to note that the increase in deaths is influenced not only by the association between cardiovascular deaths and extreme heat but also by factors such as an aging population and changes in racial/ethnic demographics. The figures provided are based on an optimistic scenario where proposed US policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are implemented. In a more pessimistic scenario where emissions continue to rise, the study suggests an average of 5,491 deaths per year.
The study highlights that certain communities are at higher risk of heat-related deaths. Black adults and elderly individuals, in particular, face increased vulnerability. Limited access to air conditioning, less tree cover, and social isolation are believed to contribute to this disparity.
The researchers emphasize that the cardiovascular system plays a crucial role in regulating body temperature, and a hotter climate can lead to major health problems in this area. Taking steps to limit global warming and address climate change is therefore of paramount importance to protect communities’ health in the future.
The study has been published in the journal Circulation, bringing attention to the urgent need for action in reducing the impacts of extreme heat on human life. Awareness and implementation of environmental policies are essential to mitigate these risks and safeguard the wellbeing of communities across the US and around the world.
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