A study published in the IOP Science Journal challenges the idea that one of the effects of global warming would be a decrease in mortality rate during the winter, coming to the conclusion that warmer temperatures and cold weather-related deaths boast little to no correlation between each other.
The research, which was done by scientists from the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, studied 39 cities throughout the United States and France, did not manage to find any type of evidence which would suggest that cities which have warmer temperature averages also had a lowerr winter mortality rate. The researchers have compared official winter mortality rates in the cities between 1971 and 2007 with temperatures during the same period for the study.
The winter mortality rate in the warmer cities was not all that different than that of the cities which experienced lower temperatures during the winter, showing little relation between warmer winter and lower death rates. The cities were selected as to present a large variety of demographics, cultural background, urban planning and any other factor which may influence winter temperatures.
Dr, Patrick L. Kinney, one of the study’s lead researchers, stated in a press release posted on the faculty’s site that climate warming cannot be expected to contribute to a lower winter mortality rate and that other seasonal factors beyond temperature are probably responsible for most of these deaths. Amongst possible factors might be low humidity and a high amount of time spent indoors during the winter season, which boasts the probability of an individual catching flu or respiratory infections which might have complications.
“Some have claimed that warmer winters due to climate change will lead to big reductions in winter deaths. Our work suggests that this is unlikely to be the case, climate warming would have little benefit if seasonal factors other than temperature are mainly responsible for winter excess mortality” said Kinney in the press statement.
This comes as the debate surrounding global warming and environmental change in general is becoming more and more intense. A Papal adress on Thursday has made environmental and climate protection a moral imperative for Catholics, while a study published earlier this month by the Uniter States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration came under intense scrutiny after it was observed that the researcher have fabricated temperatures to prove that global warming has not slowed down as it was previously believed.
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