Will people die less during the winter because of Global Warming? Unfortunately, a new study is finding that's not the case.
Out of all the awful things that we can expect from global warming — droughts, floods, famines, violent storms, broiling temperatures — there was supposed to be one silver lining: winters that aren’t as harsh and therefore don’t result in as many deaths. But, unfortunately, a new study suggests that isn’t the case.
Scientists at Columbia University have taken a close look at 36 U.S. cities and three French cities to see if there was any correlation between rising temperatures during the winter months and fewer deaths between 1971 and 2007, but they found instead that there was really no change at all, according to a UPI report.
The expectation was that climate change would cause a reduction in winter-related deaths because the temperature drops wouldn’t be as severe, and therefore fewer people would die of exposure or other things related to low temperatures, but Professor Patrick Kinney, the director of Columbia University’s Climate and Health Program who led the study, found that the fatality rates were similar to colder winters, and that there appeared to be almost no correlation between deaths and the temperature level.
A number of factors can play into that, including different urban designs, different cultural backgrounds, and different demographics.
The findings indicate that it may be other factors rather than temperature that result in a spike in deaths around the winter timeframe among humans. The spread of disease is likely a big factor, as the flu tends to be widespread during the winter months as people stay in close contact indoors. Other deadly bacteria and viruses could also spread quickly in such an atmosphere.
In addition, people tend to not move around enough and may develop obesity or at least become out of shape, putting them at risk of cardiovascular diseases.