“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,” lead author Professor Patrick Kinney, director of Columbia’s Climate and Health Program, said in a press release. A new study, published in the journal IOP Science, disproves the belief that increased global warming will decrease the amount of winter deaths around the world. Jon Snow may have been right to warn us repeatedly that ‘Winter is coming’.
The research was conducted in Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where scientists analyzed temperature and mortality data from 39 cities in the U.S. and France and concluded that a warmer climate has little if any connection to weather-related mortality rates during winter months.
Kinney and his colleagues obtained mortality rate data from 36 cities in the United States and 3 in France between the years 1971 and 2007; and discovered that cities which experienced warm winters have similar rates to those with colder winters, and there was little correlation between temperature levels and the number of deaths.
“These cities vary widely in demography, urban design, and socio-cultural background, all of which might influence exposure to outdoor temperature and related mortality risks,” said Kinney, who also serves on the New York City Panel on Climate Change and was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent report.
An increased mortality rate was observed during winters, which led scientists to theorize that other non-temperature related factors may be responsbile for this. Lack of exercise, mobility, low humidity in the air and increased time spent indoors — which increases the risk of flu and respiratory infections — may be the more likely causes behind it