1°C – the silent killer

From the Harvard School of Public Health , news that an extra 1°C temperature swing in summer will kill the elderly.

Summer temperature variability may increase mortality risk for elderly with chronic disease

Large day-to-day variations in temperature could result in thousands more deaths per year

Boston, MA – New research from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) suggests that seemingly small changes in summer temperature swings—as little as 1°C more than usual—may shorten life expectancy for elderly people with chronic medical conditions, and could result in thousands of additional deaths each year. While previous studies have focused on the short-term effects of heat waves, this is the first study to examine the longer-term effects of climate change on life expectancy.

The study will be published online April 9, 2012 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The effect of temperature patterns on long-term mortality has not been clear to this point. We found that, independent of heat waves, high day to day variability in summer temperatures shortens life expectancy,” said Antonella Zanobetti, senior research scientist in the Department of Environmental Health at HSPH and lead author of the study. “This variability can be harmful for susceptible people.”

In recent years, scientists have predicted that climate change will not only increase overall world temperatures but will also increase summer temperature variability, particularly in mid-latitude regions such as the mid-Atlantic states of the U.S. and sections of countries such as France, Spain, and Italy. These more volatile temperature swings could pose a major public health problem, the authors note.

Previous studies have confirmed the association between heat waves and higher death rates. But this new research goes a step further. Although heat waves can kill in the short term, the authors say, even minor temperature variations caused by climate change may also increase death rates over time among elderly people with diabetes, heart failure, chronic lung disease, or those who have survived a previous heart attack.

The researchers used Medicare data from 1985 to 2006 to follow the long-term health of 3.7 million chronically ill people over age 65 living in 135 U.S. cities. They evaluated whether mortality among these people was related to variability in summer temperature, allowing for other things that might influence the comparison, such as individual risk factors, winter temperature variance, and ozone levels. They compiled results for individual cities, then pooled the results.

They found that, within each city, years when the summer temperature swings were larger had higher death rates than years with smaller swings. Each 1°C increase in summer temperature variability increased the death rate for elderly with chronic conditions between 2.8% and 4.0%, depending on the condition. Mortality risk increased 4.0% for those with diabetes; 3.8% for those who’d had a previous heart attack; 3.7% for those with chronic lung disease; and 2.8% for those with heart failure. Based on these increases in mortality risk, the researchers estimate that greater summer temperature variability in the U.S. could result in more than 10,000 additional deaths per year.

In addition, the researchers found the mortality risk was 1% to 2% greater for those living in poverty and for African Americans. The risk was 1% to 2% lower for people living in cities with more green space.

Mortality risk was higher in hotter regions, the researchers found. Noting that physiological studies suggest that the elderly and those with chronic conditions have a harder time than others adjusting to extreme heat, they say it’s likely these groups may also be less resilient than others to bigger-than-usual temperature swings.

“People adapt to the usual temperature in their city. That is why we don’t expect higher mortality rates in Miami than in Minneapolis, despite the higher temperatures,” said Joel Schwartz, professor of environmental epidemiology at HSPH and senior author of the paper. “But people do not adapt as well to increased fluctuations around the usual temperature. That finding, combined with the increasing age of the population, the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions such as diabetes, and possible increases in temperature fluctuations due to climate change, means that this public health problem is likely to grow in importance in the future.”

###

Support for the study was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

“Summer Temperature Variability and Long-term Survival Among Elderly People with Chronic Disease,” Antonella Zanobetti, Marie S. O’Neill, Carina J. Gronlund, and Joel D. Schwartz, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online April 9, 2012.

Visit the HSPH website for the latest news, press releases and multimedia offerings.

Harvard School of Public Health (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu ) is dedicated to advancing the public’s health through learning, discovery, and communication. More than 400 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 1,000-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children’s health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights. For more information on the school visit: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu

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157 Responses to 1°C – the silent killer

  1. MattN says:

    1C higher will kill more elderly? Then why in the hell do they all move from the mid-west and northeast to Florida and Arizona?

  2. Anopheles says:

    Ten thousand additional deaths per year. Every year? Or maybe you can only die once and there is a limited supply of old, poor and vulnerable people. Anyhow, how are those cold winters working out, death-wise?

    Sometimes you need to look at these studies. Other times one’s initial scornful reaction is sufficient. This is one of those times.

  3. Mac says:

    In the era of air-conditioned homes how can any one tell whether the seasonal weather has anything to do with increased mortality.

  4. Mac says:

    Some background on air-conditioned America.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4697519.stm

  5. Oldseadog says:

    What are the figures for 1C colder?
    I would have thought that cold might be worse than heat.

  6. Mardler says:

    So, how many fewer people will die in winter if temperatures are less cold?

    OTOH, it’s the same old same old – junk science again.

  7. So what happens if the temp drops by the same amount?

  8. JohnH says:

    And assuming you believe in AGW, where is the study showing the reduction in deaths due to warmer winters. Usual biased rubbish.

  9. beesaman says:

    So what is the death rate increase for cooling?
    I bet it is much higher!

    Jumping on AGW funding bandwagon, next stop Biasville, all aboard….

  10. No indication they controlled for actual temperatures. IE greater variability is associated with higher temperatures. And as they note extreme high temperatures for a locality is associated with high mortality.

    Otherwise, no real evidence ‘climate change’ causes greater temperature variability.

  11. Harold Ambler says:

    These people appear to believe that the ocean-atmosphere system dished out ideal weather worldwide until about 30 years ago. The ignorance of history and science is so extreme as to leave one amazed.

    I’ve done a few interviews of late on my book, btw, two of which are here:

    http://wp.me/pnsGM-fz

  12. I can only find a press release, but a couple of obvious questions that come to mind:

    (1) Why are they citing an increase in temperature fluctuations rather than just a general warming trend? Since general warming has no detectable ill effect, it seems critical that their claim is supportable. What citations do they use to support this assertion?

    (1a) Wasn’t the most significant effect of AGW an increase in winter temperatures/reduction of lows. Wouldn’t this decrease fluctuations in temperature overall?

    (2) Did they offset increased deaths due to heat fluctuation (stronger potential for heat waves I suppose) against reductions in winter extreme lows? Because cold kills more than warmth, did they correctly deduct reduced deaths from cold before considering increased deaths from heat?

  13. DBoon says:

    As I understand it, it says 1C extra swing. So could be hotter OR colder. Makes sense, I guess, that people have a harder time coping with a higher variability in temperature. That people living in warmer climates are more susceptible…..dunno.

  14. Is this a reiteration of long-known facts masquerading as a new insight for someone’s PhD or a poorly-disguised and crass appeal for more funding from an Ivy League institution that should really know better? It’s just that those of us at the tea-time of our lives know that we will die of old age with some spurious reason entered on the Death Certificate, and that cause of death is subject to the medical fad of the moment. While not being conversant with either Minneapolis or Florida, one could reasonably expect that sub-tropical, maritime florida would have less violent temperature swings than a city buried in the northern great plains, even without taking into account that millions of Americans work all their lives to be able to retire to Florida, and that personalwealth is the major contributor to an extended life?

  15. beesaman says:

    And reading their conclusion reveals:

    ‘In conclusion, we confirmed in a large sample of cities that subpopulations such as the elderly, diabetics, and black subjects are especially susceptible to temperature extremes. According to our results, susceptibility of populations may vary according to the primary cause of death, suggesting that future studies on susceptibility will benefit from taking this into consideration. Finally, we found evidence that cardiovascular deaths, especially cardiac arrest deaths, show much larger increases on extremely cold days than other mortality causes.’

    So cold does kill more (as we all know) but give us a grant anyway….

  16. Other_Andy says:

    This study shows without any doubt that people from Northern states moving South run a higher risk of dying due to temperature differences. Statistics show that the majority of elderly retirees who have moved south to florida die within 10 years of moving South.
    Statistics don’t lie, the science is settled.

  17. 3x2 says:

    Summer temperature variability may increase mortality risk for elderly with chronic disease

    Though there is no “may” when driving up the cost of Winter heating via insane green schemes.

  18. Tom in Florida says:

    Perhaps it’s just nature’s way of evening things out. Most of those chronically ill people would have already died if it wasn’t for extensive medical care that all the rest of us pay for.

  19. H.R. says:

    Did I miss the /sarc at the end of the article?

    This study can’t be for real for the reasons cited in the first half-dozen or so comments.

  20. Old Goat says:

    Here, in France, I was experiencing daily temperatures of about 24 degrees centigrade a week or so ago. These last few days, we’re down to single figures again, so the temperature has risen and dropped 15 degrees or so within the short space of three weeks. In a fwe weeks it will have gained at least 15 degrees, again.

    I have to say, that I have witnessed no deaths or apart from whingeing, any serious temperature related problems amongst friends, and my elderly neighbours, nor have I any other year since I’ve been here, and it does get pretty hot (and pretty cold, too).

    So why should I be concerned about propaganda that these idiots are continually throwing at us? ONE degree? Come on, do they think we’re as stupid as they obviously are?

    Who in their right minds believes this rubbish? They must be really thick if they think we fall for it – we’re not buying. I just wish they’d go and find something useful to do with their lives, instead of preaching, taxing, and trying to scare us to death with things that we (and, hopefully, they) all know aren’t true. Sheer, utter madness.

  21. Bob Johnston says:

    I’ve noticed that Harvard pumps out an enormous amount of junk science and this appears to be one more example. As is always the case with observational studies, correlation does not mean causation.

  22. Katherine says:

    That’s why we need technology and energy for air-conditioning! But even then, no air-conditioning in summer won’t kill as easily as no heating during winter.

  23. Paul Bell says:

    What with the sun going up and down all the time we are experiencing 10degC temperature swings every single day! I don’t know how the old folks here are hanging on.

  24. R Barker says:

    It seems to me that there is some flaw in the logic of this study which claims that “for elderly people with chronic medical conditions…… could result in thousands of additional deaths each year. ”
    Everyone dies eventually. Elderly persons with chronic disease would be near term candidates for death. Large temperature swings may be the trigger for death at a particular time, sooner rather than later for those at risk. It does not follow that 10,000 more will die each year without an increase in the number of people in that subset of the population (3.7 million) at near term risk.
    If the temperature swings did not actually cause an increase in the number of elderly with chronic disease, then while the death rate might fluctuate with temperature swings, I would not expect it to be changed among that population subset over the longer period of time.

  25. schnurrp says:

    “even minor temperature variations caused by climate change may also increase death rates…”
    Are minor temperature variations not caused by climate change (assumed AGW) okay?

  26. dougsherman says:

    Living causes death

  27. DougByMany says:

    How many people will die when the cost of electricity goes up making air conditioning less accessible to people living on a fixed income.
    Let’s say that there are 20 million chronically ill folks in the country with air conditioning. If 10% of those folks have to forego air conditioning due to the higher cost, their bodies will be forced to experience uncharacteristic swings of let’s say 5 degrees C.
    We should expect a one time increase in the death rate of 4% * 5 = 20%, or 400,000 dead grammys and grampys.
    I sure the EPA will view this massacre as an investment, offset by all the people saved from breathing poisonous CO2 in the future.

  28. In hot weather my favourite occupation is sitting in the garden with a cold beer or a G&T. Thoughts of my daily stroll will be totally forgotten. It won’t be the heat that is responsible for my final demise, but the alcohol and lack of exercise
    But then I suppose you can blame the heat for increasing my alcohol consumption and my lack of any desire to go out for a walk, so my death, one day,will be added to the statistics as heat related..

  29. garymount says:

    I would like to see a study on the increased number of heart attacks and strokes brought on by an increased number of stressed and angry people because they have to live under the regimes of politicians implementing costly ineffective policies.

  30. Disko Troop says:

    I would like to have seen the paper that came before this…researched by the Bursar of HSPH which said that a 1% increase in the mentions of Global Warming in medical research papers result in a 15% increase in Government Grants, EPA grants and bungs from Soros and Suzuki. The memo that went out to his professors must have been a revelation. I can palpably taste my contempt for poeple who put crap like this into the public domain.

  31. biff33 says:

    They want us to give up fossil fuels — which means giving up industrial cvilzation. How many more deaths will that cause each year? Have the geniuses at Harvard done any studies on whether life expectancy was longer or shorter in pre-industrial times? If this doesn’t convince people that there is no science in climate “science,” just anti-industrial ideology disguised as science, then nothing will — and our civilization is doomed.

  32. DJ says:

    I see we’ve finally managed to work in the old racist angle…. If you don’t combat global warming, you’re racist because it adversely affects African-Americans disproportionately. The “hyphenation effect” has long been known here but skeptics have continuously refused to acknowledge it.
    The hyphenation effect only impacts hyphenated races, such as African-Americans, but strangely not Africans, like those living in equatorial or desert regions of Africa where summer temperatures can be higher than in Chicago or Nashville.

  33. Richard111 says:

    Look at insurance statistics. More elderly people die when it is cold!

  34. Eric Dailey says:

    Where is that big red button when I need it?

  35. mfo says:

    The quote posted earlier, “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” seems relevent.

    In global terms, of those aged over 65, there is a greater proportion of women to men, at present something like 1.5 to 1 (women:men). Over 85 it is 3 to 1. The elderly also have lower incomes and a higher proportion, compared to the under 65′s, live in poverty with less access to healthcare.

    The medical conditions mentioned are as much associated with rising obesity as with those aged over 65. Infact all studies of the ageing population show a rapid increase in those aged 65 and over and a similar increase in those aged 80 and over.

    Elderly people overall are actually becoming healthier, they have less disease and lead more active lives often continuing to work long past the age of 65.

    The projected increase in the ageing population of the entire world is from about 7 % of the population in 2000 to a projected 20% in 2050. Even in Africa the increase is likely to be a rise in the elderly of from 3% in 2000 to 7% in 2050. In the US the rise is from 12% in 2000 to a projected 21% in 2050.

    These statistics represent much healthier, rapidly growing elderly populations. In 2009 in the US there were 39 million Americans aged over 65. If the rise continues at its present rate, It is projected that by 2030 there will be 72 mllion Americans aged over 65, many of whom will be over 80 and still leading active lives.

    I suppose next they will try to correlate the rise in obesity with climate change. :o(

  36. polistra says:

    One thing we know for sure: Thousands of people are unnecessarily dying in Britain because they can’t afford to create large differences of temperature between inside and outside. When they go in their houses, it’s just as cold as outside. Carbon tax should make them live forever, but for some mysterious reason it doesn’t.

  37. biff33 says:

    Perhaps next week the National Academy of Sciences will publish a study out of Yale demonstrating that if only we ban automobiles, we will save 40,000 lives each year in the U.S. alone! And it’s only the evil car industry that prevents us from doing it!

  38. Ian W says:

    Note that this article is cleverly written to imply that 1degC rise in temperature will kill people especially the poor and Black communities. However, that is NOT what the study actually appears to show which is higher variability MAY increase death rates.

    Now we also have to add the ineptness of medical researchers in statistics and their application. I presume by variability they are looking at temperature range over what period of time? As has been pointed out the daily range of temperatures in some places is up to 15 or 20degC. Then they admit in the conclusion “Finally, we found evidence that cardiovascular deaths, especially cardiac arrest deaths, show much larger increases on extremely cold days than other mortality causes.” and as everyone already knows cold kills – but were the cold snaps accounted for in their statistics? I doubt it as a research paper stating that cold kills even if its only a few cold nights would hardly merit attention at Rio+20 – whereas a paper saying 1degC can kill especially the poor…. means a guaranteed research grant and possibly an all expenses paid trip to Brazil.

  39. trccurtin says:

    Like everything on Climate Change in PNAS, this latest is a blatant perversion of the truth. For millennia more people have died in cold winters than in hot summers (amongst them my 4 grandparents who all died in the bitter English winters of 1946-7 (aggravated by the globalwarmists’ coal strike?), 1956-7, 1960-61, and 1962-3). Even today across northern Europe and America more die in winter than in summer. Get real! – impossible at PNAS, which has published papers implying rice does better in Scotland than in Thailand, wheat in Greenland than in Australia, and cane sugar in Alaska than in the Sudan (I have the PNAS citations claiming crop yields are higher in cold regimes than in warmer).

  40. Peter Dunford says:

    The study period had lots of other tbings changing over that time period. We could suggest that climate alarmism increased during tgat period, perhaps that was the cause. Or income inequality. Energy costs. It is also just possible that people with chronic conditions have not benefitted from increasing life spans over the period because of their, er, chronic conditions. They only apear to have shortened lives because they haven’t had longer ones.
    Are they implying the being African American is like having diabetes or asthma? Bit harsh.

  41. rum says:

    this will play perfectly to decrease the costs of obamacare. after all, its all those damn sick old people that use all the resources

  42. PaulH says:

    JunkScience.com skewers this “study”:
    http://junkscience.com/2012/04/09/global-warming-to-kill-elderly-people-with-chronic-disease/

    “This study is, of course, an exercise in statistics that is devoid of any relationship to the real world of morbidity and mortality.”

  43. Tom Harley says:

    quack quack quack…if it looks like a duck it probably is. I don’t want of those quacks near me…ever.
    Harvard School of Public Health? Sure…

  44. Huth says:

    The warmists I know think the world is over-populated with humans anyway. They should be glad if death rates rise, shouldn’t they?? :-\

  45. Latitude says:

    That is why we don’t expect higher mortality rates in Miami than in Minneapolis, despite the higher temperatures,”
    ========================================

    wrong……Minneapolis gets a lot hotter and if they are talking about temp swings Miami changes very little, Minneapolis changes a lot

  46. EW-3 says:

    Follow the money:

    “Support for the study was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.”

  47. Jimbo says:

    Now let them do a study on winter deaths and how manhy elderly with chronic conditions are likely to suffer with a 1c colder and benefit with 1c warmer winters caused by global warming.

    UK
    Winter deaths on the riseHypothermia cases double in five years
    14 February 2012
    Hypothermia-related deaths and hospital admissions have almost doubled over the past five years.

    Almost 2000 people were admitted to hospital and 260 died from the condition in 2010/2011, according to figures from the NHS information centre.

    Hypothermia occurs when body temperature falls below 35C from its usual 37C.
    Saving money on energy bills

    Last week a survey by the charity Age UK revealed that half of pensioners – the age group which makes up three quarters of hypothermia-related hospital admissions – had turned down their heating to save money.

    http://www.which.co.uk/news/2012/02/winter-deaths-on-the-rise-279198/

  48. Dodgy Geezer says:

    Sorry?

    This is NOT about temperature increase, it’s about temperature VARIABILITY.

    I don’t actually find it surprising that humans prefer an optimum temperature, and that wide variations from it will lead to more deaths. And then, like radioactivity, you can extend that thinking to say that if varying the temperature +/- 100C kills 50% of the people, then varying it +/- 1C will kill 0.5% of the people. Is this what the paper has done? I wouldn’t be surprised…

    But where is the evidence, or, indeed, the assertion, that Global Warming will INCREASE temperature variation? I would have thought that if you added extra heat, you would tend to suppress variation….

  49. SunderlandSteve says:

    So basically, mon 25c no problem, tues 25c no problem, weds 25c no problem, thurs 26c, omg they’re all going to die!

  50. Owen says:

    Do the people writing this garbage seriously believe what they are writing about, or are they so cynical and underhanded they know it’s utter BS and do it anyways for the money. People like Hansen are completely deluded but I think most go along with the Climate Change Cult for career advancement. They know they aren’t doing real science but what the hell, it’s a cushy job, the economy is tough, they’d hate to have to go out and find a real job.

  51. DJ says:

    Old people should be pleased to learn that the money they could have used to heat or cool their homes was taken as taxes to be used for studies that show they didn’t have enough money to heat or cool their homes, thereby increasing their mortality rates.

    Little did they realize that the temperatures in the Harvard School of Public Health building were kept at a very comfortable level for the researchers.

  52. higley7 says:

    Two big problems here.

    First, with global warming (which is not now happening, but for the sake of discussion) the summers do not getting warmer as much as the winters become less cold, thus raising the average.

    Yes, there are heat waves, but they can happen during cold or warm climate periods. In the late 1970s, when it was cold, Maine had a summer with no rain and a heat wave of about 120 deg F on the mainland which killed 12 million chickens. They had to call out the National Guard to help truck and dispose of 36 kilotons of dead birds.

    Second, heat waves in Texas do not kill anybody, as they know how to deal with it. However, in Paris, people die, as heat waves are not the norm. The interesting observation from the deaths in the last Parisian heat wave was that, if the heat were killing people, then the death rate would go back to normal after the heat wave.

    Instead, the death rate took a dip after the heat wave, indicating that the heat wave simply caused those about to die to die a week or two earlier than otherwise. These people already had one foot in the grave. It is simply not economical to set up Paris to handle the rare heat wave, just as many older houses in New England do not have air conditioning as there are really only a couple of weeks a year that are really, depressingly hot and humid—it’s not worth the cost.

  53. Affizzyfist says:

    Neither my father who published 3 papers in NATURE re atmospheric physics nor myself who has published 30 per reviewed papers in biology would dare associate ourselves or publish anything with the National Academy of Sciences as it stands currently. I don’t think they have the faintest clue what damage the climate scientist are doing to their associations and journals. They will find out the hard way. I think if you did a survey on membership dues etc you will find sharp drops after junk like this gets published same applies to current Nature magazine. .

  54. Stacey says:

    Actually this research is completely wrong because it has been peer reviewed. My research shows that people are dying from laughter in their millions everytime a paper like this is published.
    Have the social sciences morhed into climate science?

  55. Stacey says:

    I should know better, never correct someone’s typo cos to be sure you will make one :-)
    Morhed should read morphed.

  56. Mark Bofill says:

    I’m sure the study is correct. It’s sort of like noting that some people die under anesthetics without noting how many more people live as a result. We need a warmer climate if the argument is about the number deaths due to temperature. I’m sure I’m not saying anything anyone (including the researchers) doesn’t already know…

  57. Grant says:

    The proliferation of ‘could’, ‘might’ and ‘may’ papers should dissipate after Rio+20.
    They are starting to remind me of Burma-Shave signs on the road to Rio.

  58. steveta_uk says:

    Excellent news. As is well known, global warming consists mainly of raised averages due to raised minima. Thus, if this study is completely correct, then we can expect reduced mortality due to global warming, directly as a result of the reduced temperature variations, as a result of reduced minima.

    Odd that the authors didn’t spot this.

  59. John V. Wright says:

    How many more older people will survive winter as a result of an overall 1C increase in temperature? Is the moon made of green cheese? I don’t know the answer to these questions but I think the Harvard School of Public Health should be paid large sums of taxpayers’ cash to find out.

  60. R. de Haan says:

    The claim is to stupid to deserve a sane response.

    I never would have guessed that the ever increasing number of elderly migrating to warmer climates like Florida and Panama to escape winter in reality are pushed by suicidal motives.

    One thing must be clear. Don’t send your kids to the Harvard School of Public Health.

  61. Affizzyfist says:

    AW Solar 24: Probably aware but SSN is again 25! after the max average of 55 for March are we not looking at a complete fizzle (ie Max is over)

  62. Then why artificially increase the cost of electricity with subsidized solar panels and wind turbines if the elderly are so fragile?

  63. Chuck Nolan says:

    You can bet if it goes from 36c to 37c all us old folk are dead. Here in Florida, they’ll be sweeping us off the streets with push brooms.

  64. NoAstronomer says:

    Interesting paper. Now all the authors need to do is to prove that CO2, or climate change or in fact any single factor causes short-term temperature variability. Until they can do that it’s worthless.

  65. TANSTAAFL says:

    Backers of Obamacare say that this isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

  66. Mac says:

    How likely is it that people suffering chronic medical conditions in urban areas are likely to step out of their air-conditioned homes during periods of hot summer weather?

    Further, it is known that people exposed to air conditioning are more susceptible to colds, flu, etc; and it is these minor ailments that may tip the balance for those suffering from chronic medical conditions.

    So there my be an indirect link between mortality and summer extremes but that may be due solely to the growth upwards in the number of air conditioned homes, offices and public buidlings at large, and not climate change.

  67. Trevor says:

    1. This paper seems to assume that “climate change” will result in more day-to-day variability in temperature, and I don’t think that’s been proven. Just “predicted”. Like Hansen’s prediction that by 2010, most of New York City would be flooded. In fact, it seems to me – given the fact that much of CO2′s absorption spectrum overlaps with water vapor’s, the fact that atmosperic water vapor content is highly variable temporally and geographically, and the fact that CO2 is well distributed throughout the atmosphere – that higher levels of atmospheric CO2 would be a stabilizing force on local temperatures.

    2. There’s no mention of all the elderly lives that would be SAVED from cold-weather-related causes by the warmer winters. Far more people die from cold weather than from warm weather (or from high variablity in temperature for that matter), and the elderly are the hardest hit.

    3. It looks to me like this paper, unkown to its authors, makes a great case AGAINST mitigation. Currently, elderly people can seek refuge from high temperature variability inside their homes. Their homes have central air and heat, fueled by relatively cheap electricity from coal, and precise thermostats, that THEY control, to keep the temperature inside their homes very stable, compared to the widely-fluctuating temperatures outside. But the strategies the alarmists recommend for mitigating climate change will force (either by law, by central control, or by prohibitive cost) elderly people to keep their thermostats set high in the summer. Their homes will not longer be the safe havens from high temperature variability that they would otherwise be. And thousands more will die thanks to mitigation.

  68. jayhd says:

    Typical public health BS. I won’t be surprised if deaths from heart and lung disease will decrease because global warming will take their place as cause of death. Reminds me of the study released a few years ago about prostate cancer in men over 65. The headline was men over 65 who did not get treated for prostate cancer were twice as likely to die from the cancer than those who did get treated. Buried in the study were the statistics – 2% of all deaths in men over 65 were attributable to prostate cancer if the men did not get treatment, 1% if they did get treatment.

    Jay Davis

  69. Urederra says:

    Oh noes, a PNAS publication again…

    Why these “may” science papers are always published on journals like PNAS or Nature?

  70. I would pay good money to get the authors of this “research” in the same room with a few of y’all and watch them try to defend their garbage.

  71. @mfo April 10, 2012 at 5:15 am “I suppose next they will try to correlate the rise in obesity with climate change.”
    Too late, buddy, the National Health Service here in the UK states quite categorically that “fatties
    cause global warming!!
    http://www.nhs.uk/news/2009/04April/Pages/Obesityaddstoclimatechange.aspx

  72. TomT says:

    I find it hard to believe that older people have a hard time adjusting to warmer temperature. Down here in Florida I see older people with sweaters on when it is 85.

  73. Tom J says:

    I have to admit that this one gets me angry. I have impaired lung function. My lungs are hyperinflated to 145% of normal. In an FEV1 test I can only expel a volume of air that is 15% of normal. I am on oxygen 24/7. So this study, funded through the EPA, has the audacity to tell people such as myself that a mere 1 degree C. swing in temp. will increase our mortality. No, what will increase our mortality is when we can’t use our air conditioners because our electrical rates have ‘skyrocketed’ thanks to recent EPA dictates. Have they done a study about what will occur with mortality rates when AC is no longer affordable. Noooo. Then let’s think about the elec. operated home oxygen concentrators. I can assure these people that there is no comparison between summer & winter with lung disease. Winter is deadly, not summer.

  74. ferd berple says:

    MattN says:
    April 10, 2012 at 3:33 am
    1C higher will kill more elderly? Then why in the hell do they all move from the mid-west and northeast to Florida and Arizona?
    ++++++++++++++
    They die after moving to Florida and Arizona, so clearly it is the increased temperature that killed them. Statistics don’t lie. Had they stayed in the mid-west the cold would have preserved them.

  75. Ben Wilson says:

    People. . . .you’re missing what you should conclude from the paper!!

    What determines the temperature that most people experience? It’s not the sun or clouds or a cold spell. . . . .it’s the thermostats in their houses!!

    And what type of thermostat would allow the temperature in these poor people’s houses to vary by 1.8 degrees F or 1 degree C. . . . . .??

    That’s right, it’s those new-fangled programmable thermostats that dial the temperature back at night all in the guise of saving energy and polar bears!!

    So we need the EPA to immediately ban programmable thermostats, and send out the police to seize all they can find. . . . .

    Because otherwise old folks and poor folks and black folks might die. . . . . . . .

    /sarcasm off

  76. Kaboom says:

    How many elderly will die when green-mandated higher energy prices prevent them from using air conditioning, whether temperatures rise or not?

  77. Tom in Florida says:

    dougsherman says:
    April 10, 2012 at 4:42 am
    “Living causes death”

    As someone recenly said to me, “Life is short and no one gets out alive”

  78. A data trawl.

    “The researchers used Medicare data from 1985 to 2006 to follow the long-term health of 3.7 million chronically ill people over age 65 living in 135 U.S. cities.”

    So they looked exclusively at chronically-ill people.

    “Each 1°C increase in summer temperature variability increased the death rate for elderly with chronic conditions between 2.8% and 4.0%, depending on the condition. Mortality risk increased 4.0% for those with diabetes; 3.8% for those who’d had a previous heart attack; 3.7% for those with chronic lung disease; and 2.8% for those with heart failure”

    These look suspiciously like the results of a risk ratio analysis done by somebody who doesn’t understand the proper use of statistics. (NO; statistics doesn’t exist to make it easy to get grants or tenure.)

    Confounding factor analysis? Wealth vs health? Wealth vs health care? Working life vs health?

    I’ll wait for the real statisticians to suggest what ought to be done about those Harvard epedemiological studies.

    I read the official abstract but am none the wiser because the “mortality hazard ratio” is meaningless to me. If it’s the risk ratio, then the results of the “study” are insignificant as a risk ratio only represents the quality/strength of the analsys, not what is being analysed by statistics.

  79. theduke says:

    I suppose that if there wasn’t such a thing as air-conditioning, they might have a point.

    You can drive by any trailer park anywhere and see air-conditioning units are the rule, not the exception.

  80. ferd berple says:

    Owen says:
    April 10, 2012 at 6:29 am
    Do the people writing this garbage seriously believe what they are writing about, or are they so cynical and underhanded they know it’s utter BS and do it anyways for the money.
    ++++++++++++++
    The boss asks for a 10 page report showing that eating cherries causes cancer, you have a choice:
    1. Produce a report showing that eating cherries does indeed cause cancer, or
    2. Look for another job.

    If you choose 2, then your boss is going to ask your replacement the same question, and we are back at option 1. Eventually the report will get written.

    Your boss can then use your report to short cherry stocks and at the same time promote your report widely to the press. Cherry prices will tumble and your boss will make out like a bandit, all perfectly legal.

    If it later turns out your report was bogus, then it is your credentials that will suffer. Your boss can always claim plausible denaibility. So, if you want to survive prefessionally, having written the cherry cancer study, you will deny to the ends of the earth that the report is wrong. Otherwise your career will be short indeed.

    The interesting point in all this, is something the intelligence services have known for years. To be truly effective, disinformation works best when the lie is big rather than small.

  81. Resourceguy says:

    This is precisely the type of study that is used to forment over-reaching regulatory policy at EPA for generations. It is much like the erroneous assignment of asthma cases to air quality that redirects and slows the economy on a daily basis through less investment. They need a science crutch to lean on and this requires ignoring other cause and effect relationships in order to cement bad policy as ongoing dogma, even when subsequent research points to other, ignored causes. It’s inconvenient to have to admit mistakes onmce the policy train has left the station with years of development and public resources spent.

  82. theduke says:

    Re what TomT said. If 1 degree of extra warmth is so dangerous, why do many older people retire to Florida?

  83. bubbagyro says:

    How many thousands died 9 weeks ago in Europe and Asia from the cold? Weren’t most of them the elderly?

  84. bubbagyro says:

    OOPS! Check my off switch on italics and bold.

  85. ferd berple says:

    TomT says:
    April 10, 2012 at 7:31 am
    I find it hard to believe that older people have a hard time adjusting to warmer temperature. Down here in Florida I see older people with sweaters on when it is 85.
    ++++++++++++++++
    In the tropics, the locals wear ski jackets in winter, when temperatures drop below 25C (80F). While the tourists from temperature regions are sweating in shorts and t-shirts.

    Cities are hotter than nearby forests and parks. So it could be argued that cities kill people.

  86. hunter says:

    This can join the study claiming pythons and boas would be living feral in Kansas city and the study claiming that AGW would cause kidney stones, in the trash bin of junk science. And the bill for this sort of trash should be sent to Hansen, Romm and Gore and their ilk.

  87. Mike M says:

    Hey Harvard morons – let’s turn off all the fossil fueled electric plants and see how many old people die without air conditioning this summer and then stop using fossil fuels to heat their houses and see how many freeze to death next winter? The rise in life expectancy over the last 100 years would not have happened without the use of fossil fuels. Of course you won’t factor THAT into your ‘equation’.

  88. Nerd says:

    Harold Ambler says:
    April 10, 2012 at 4:07 am
    These people appear to believe that the ocean-atmosphere system dished out ideal weather worldwide until about 30 years ago. The ignorance of history and science is so extreme as to leave one amazed.

    =====

    http://www.nas.org/images/documents/A_Crisis_of_Competence.pdf

    That would explain why. It says that at California universities, Western/America Civilization course is not required for History major…

  89. Jimbo says:

    mfo says:
    April 10, 2012 at 5:15 am

    ……………………………..

    I suppose next they will try to correlate the rise in obesity with climate change. :o(

    You must have missed
    “Food fight: CO2 makes us fatter”
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/13/food-fight-co2-makes-us-fatter/

  90. Mac says:

    Now here is a conundrum. Life expectancy in modern western societies continues to increase. This has seen a rise in chronic diseases amongst a growing elderly population, but due to advances in modern medicine, technology and life style mortality in people older than 80 years is still declining.

    So what ever increase this research has shown is being overwhelmed by much greater factors that is resulting in an overall increase in life expectancy.

  91. Brandon says:

    This is the same Harvard group that just declared dairy is no longer healthy. They seem to be on a “everything must” go big brother kick.

    http://www.care2.com/greenliving/harvard-declares-dairy-not-part-of-healthy-diet.html#ixzz1iKjtUbTD

  92. dp says:

    So seniors moving from Seattle to Arizona should probably be against the law then, and we should spend billions ensuring that our northern born and raised citizens avoid this certain suicide. That is going to be a big surprise to my retired BIL who just bought property there.
    /sarc and utter disbelief

    My faith in science to solve any problem is now in the crapper.

  93. Bob says:

    My in-laws are in their mid-90′s. As they have aged, the comfortable temperature as increased much more than 1°C. Put’s quite a strain on me when their house is in the lower ’80′s for their comfort. Reading this I just realized I qualify as elderly, I’m over 65 and didn’t know I was in so much risk. The summer temperature versus death is absolute hooey.

  94. According to Age Concern, 23,000 people die each winter in the UK from the cold.

    According to statistics I read, in the worst summer on record (2003) there were 23,000 extra deaths in the summer IN THE WHOLE OF EUROPE

    In other words, unless we get a rise in temperature there will be 2.3million extra winter deaths over the next century.

  95. rilfeld says:

    The founder or the School of Public Health would, I think, be appalled by this nonsense. He was, in his private writings, always candid and axtremely politically incorrect. One primary goal of the school was to bring honesty to discussions about personal hygene & sexual practices…the political correctness of the day. In his letters he consistantly poked fun at stuffy convention by pointing out reality. He was a practical Doctor and a practical person, and my great grandfather.

  96. Brian H says:

    Logic rulez!
    == Warming reduces variability.
    == Variability kills
    == CO2 increases warming.
    Therefore: Increasing CO2 reduces deaths from variability.

    Bring it on!

  97. Jean Parisot says:

    What is the increase in corn and wheat production from 1C?

  98. Former Forecaster says:

    I wonder if the Globalwarmists ever thought about the mortality rate if Earth’s temp decreased 1C.

  99. Skeptical Citizen says:

    They use words like may, can be, could. In other words its probably just bull! There are more old people than ever before. The average age of americans is increasing. Unfortunately The greenie propaganda is believed by many sheeple.

  100. pcknappenberger says:

    In research that I have been involved in (see for example, Davis et al., 2003), we found that people readily adapt to frequent heat waves, and consequently, the heat-related mortality rates decline as exposure increases. I describe our results, along with some new ones coming out of the Czech Republic which found the same thing in my current article posted at Master Resource “Is the EPA Endangering Public Health and Welfare by Attempting to Mitigate Extreme Weather?”

    The new PNAS study looks at the impact of a rise in temperature variability, rather than simply temperature. When publishing our work, reviewers often wondered about the impact of increasing variability, and although it was not the major focus of our work, we did perform, in response to the queries, some cursory examinations of trends in variability and found them to be generally absent across the U.S. cities that we examined. We ultimately concluded that “However, the fundamental question of the differential mortality impact of prolonged exposure to high heat and humidity compared with highly variable weather conditions remains unresolved.”

    I look forward to reading the new paper to see the details and what light they were able to shed on the issue.

    -Chip Knappenberger

  101. pcknappenberger says:

    In research that I have been involved in (see for example, Davis et al., 2003), we found that people readily adapt to frequent heat waves, and consequently, the heat-related mortality rates decline as exposure increases. I describe our results, along with some new ones coming out of the Czech Republic which found the same thing, in my current article posted at Master Resource “Is the EPA Endangering Public Health and Welfare by Attempting to Mitigate Extreme Weather?”

    The new PNAS study looks at the impact of a rise in temperature variability, rather than simply temperature. When publishing our work, reviewers often wondered about the impact of increasing variability, and although it was not the major focus of our work, we did perform some cursory examinations of trends in variability and found them to be generally absent across the U.S. cities that we examined. We ultimately concluded that “However, the fundamental question of the differential mortality impact of prolonged exposure to high heat and humidity compared with highly variable weather conditions remains unresolved.”

    I look forward to reading the new paper to see the details and what light they were able to shed on the issue.

    -Chip Knappenberger

  102. RoyFOMR says:

    Great news. If I lived in a temperature- static bubble, I would live for ever.
    Yippee!

  103. pat says:

    I would be willing to bet a bit of money that this is nonsense. Let us start with the Michael Mann premise that the world has already warmed 1C since 1850.

  104. tadchem says:

    I guess this means that all those RVs with Canadian license tags I saw in Yuma Arizona mean that Yuma is the human equivalent of an Elephant’s Graveyard – the elderly migrate there to die.

  105. Andrejs Vanags says:

    What about the REDUCTION in elderly deaths in northern countries? is that included? What about a graph showing net deaths from COLDER temperatures?
    Have we become such wimps that ANY change at all is bad? are we just by cosmic Luck at the cup of the Optimum? Please dont tell me the optimum is colder temperatures, millions could die, so the optimum must be at higher temperatures than preseent.

  106. Robert Wykoff says:

    Out in the desert I have literally seen low 100′s in the day and upper teens at night with water bottles frozen solid. So that means 80+ temperature difference in the same day. This is not super uncommon. In certain conditions (especially in the winter) you can literally feel the temperature drop like a rock as the sun sets. We are outside in the elements all day and all night and the worst that happens is that we complain “*#@! @^&@ its *@!@# COLD!!!!!”.

    Of course the opposite happens in the morning. After the sun rises, the temperatures fire up like an oven within minutes. That’s why I park my Land Cruiser perpendicular to the sunrise with my sleeping bag along the side, so I can sleep in glorious shade for a few hours.

  107. Roger says:

    I read an article in “The Onion” several years ago which pointed out that despite all the advances in medical science, the mortality rate still stands at 100%. Are these authors trying to be funny? An extra 10,000 deaths relative to what? All else being equal? But all else is NEVER equal.

    Some questions come to mind:

    * Of the “increased variability” how much is attributable to AGW? Is there any way to know?

    * Wouldn’t a (relative) warm snap in winter cause the snow and ice to melt faster thus save lives through reduced accidents? If it would, how many?

    * Or maybe a cold snap would cause the snow to last longer, increasing accidents. Of those accidents, how many would be fatal?

    Unless these questions can be answered (and many more, with error bars smaller than the 10,000 deaths sited) I don’t see that this “study” has any value whatsoever.

  108. Peter says:

    See, this shows that the doctors are now conspiring with the scientists to impose an ecofacist world government and raise your taxes.

  109. MikeH says:

    mfo said on April 10, 2012 at 5:15 am
    {snip}
    I suppose next they will try to correlate the rise in obesity with climate change. :o(

    Already been published…
    New Theory, CO2 makes you fat

  110. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

    It seems that it is only the climate change induced higher temperature that harms:
    “even minor temperature variations caused by climate change may also increase death rates over time among elderly people with diabetes, heart failure, chronic lung disease, or those who have survived a previous heart attack.”
    So any other cause for the temperature rise would not be harmfull.

  111. Peter Plail says:

    I see that they claim the effect would be due to increased variability and not increased temperatures, so my reading is that all temperatures shift up by 1 degree then the temperature swings are the same in absolute terms (actually less expressed as a percentage of absolute temperature) and therefore should worry no-one.

  112. Paul says:

    That would be a ~60 deg swing in C

  113. Dave Wendt says:

    The only real question raised by this output from the Harvard School of Public Health is why on Earth would any parent even consider investing over a quarter of a million dollars to send their young skull full of mush to such a place. Get the kid a used copy of “How to Lie with Statistics” and a four year internet hookup. Even if they never venture much beyond Google and Wikipedia, they ought to arrive at a much better educated state than the purveyors of this dreck seem to have after four years plus at this $50K+/yr indoctrination center.

  114. John T says:

    The good news is that those of us living in developed countries have air conditioners.

    The bad news is, the poorest parts of the world are often some of the hottest. The best thing we could do to save lives is to move forward with cheap, affordable energy where and when we can find it and not let notions of more expensive and unreliable “green energy” kill thousands of elderly throughout the world.

  115. Pooh, Dixie says:

    I would think that the Administration would welcome this news. After all, it would save a bundle on future Medicare and Social Security benefits; a two-fer. Oh, I forgot. They already have embraced something to save those benefits.

    It’s called the Independent Payment Advisory Board: “IPAB” for short.

  116. Kip Hansen says:

    If anyone can find a link to this study, I’dlike to read it. If anyone has journal access, through work or school, I would appreciate a PDF of gthe study.

  117. Hot under the collar says:

    This study incontroversially demonstrated that funding from the EPA will produce whatever alarmist propaganda they wish.
    Now where’s that male cow faecal matter button?

  118. Resourceguy says:

    We need an exhaustive study of the economic impact and income redistribution caused by global warming–The biased science of global warming is benefiting authors and reviewers monetarily in the paper mill of academic research, promotions, and grant funding. Then there is the 1000 to 1 impact multiplier of bad public policy being imposed on a desperate world with developed countries in stagnation and developing countries picking sides.

  119. edcaryl says:

    My BS button broke! 😜

  120. KnR says:

    Cold has always killed far more than heat want a clue as to why , two words ‘sweat glands’ evlution has designed human to cope with heat far better than the cold .

  121. David A. Evans says:

    Bernd Felsche says:
    April 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Those percentages if derived from RR are well below statistical significance.
    In water safety, anything less than RR of 3, (200% increase in effect,) is considered statistically insignificant.

    DaveE.

  122. Dave Wendt says:

    I have lived my entire six decades plus life in Minnesota and though I can’t site proof that it is the place in the world with the most variable weather, it certainly seems to be that for this country at least

    http://www.city-data.com/top2/c457.html
    Top 101 cities with the largest temperature differences during a year (population 50,000+)

    We’ve got 15 of the top 25 on that list.
    The notion that temperature variability is driver of increased mortality seems to be at odds with this list

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_life_expectancy

    The states of the Northern Plains, which have the most variable climate, also have the longest life expectancies. Minnesota, with our usual Nordic modesty and humility, has to settle for No. 2.

  123. Steve Sadlov says:

    Look, enough already with the distorted “if it’s this way in the NE US / Western Europe then it is thus world wide” BS. So the NE US had a warm winter, so what? So the NE US layers massive UHI and overuse of HVAC onto their sticky continental climate and it’s horrible in summer. Whoop tee dooo!

  124. pyeatte says:

    This is complete nonsense. A person cannot tell the difference of 1 deg C without looking at a thermometer. These guys have jumped the shark to enable a political agenda.

  125. RockyRoad says:

    These people need to get OUTSIDE! Just because their central heating keeps their homes and offices at 68 in the winter and their air conditioning keeps them at 72 in the summertime doesn’t mean the rest of the world must stay within that narrow range!

    Oh, wait–that’s a difference of 4 degrees F (way more than their 1.8 degree F); sorry, I take it all back–they may be onto something!

    /sarc

  126. H.R. says:

    Paging Hugh Pepper! Paging Hugh Pepper! Paging Dr. Pepper!

    The skeptics aren’t buying. Need a positive plug for this paper, stat!

    ;o)

  127. PeterF says:

    Does that mean that Florida and Hawaii are becoming the ‘Soylent Green’ states of the nation?

  128. Richdo says:

    “But people do not adapt as well to increased fluctuations around the usual temperature.”

    So my programmable thermostat is going to kill me? Any good lawyers out there – I see a great class action lawsuit against Honeywell. /sarc

  129. Louis says:

    “…the researchers estimate that greater summer temperature variability in the U.S. could result in more than 10,000 additional deaths per year.”

    Do those deaths occur before or after taking into account air conditioning failures due to rolling blackouts caused by shutting down coal-fired power plants across the country? And do they take into account the effects of higher energy costs due to carbon taxes and expensive green energy? This is a case where the “cure” is much worse than the “disease” and will cause far more deaths. I wish someone would do a study on that.

  130. Louis says:

    If the choice comes down to increasing our carbon footprint to provide adequate air conditioning for the elderly or just giving them a pain killer, which option do you think Obama, Hansen, and other eco-nuts would choose?

  131. H.R. says:

    Louis says:
    April 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm
    “If the choice comes down to increasing our carbon footprint to provide adequate air conditioning for the elderly or just giving them a pain killer, which option do you think Obama, Hansen, and other eco-nuts would choose?”

    Wasn’t that Question #43 on the Science Literacy Test? I missed that one.

    I chose “A. Provide adequate air conditioning” but the correct answer was “C. Give the old geezers a permanent chill pill.”

  132. curious george says:

    Would you rather be a billionaire or a diabetic? All billionaires have to die, but only 5% of diabetics!

  133. sp3crbn says:

    Increased variablity in temperatures alsmost certainly is associated with more frequent frontal storm systems and pressure changes. Their automatic “correlation is causation” for temperature cannot be assumed. It could just as easily be the pressure change. I’ve always heard stories about old or injured joints becoming painful due to the pressure change as weather fronts aproach.
    The warmist’s keep telling us the polar regions are most succeptable to AGW according to the models. Well if that is true, then the temperature difference from equator to poles that drives the frontal systems will be less and there temperature variablity will lessen. My recommendation if the correlation in the paper is real, is throw some more coal in those power plants. The vulnerable elderly will see cheaper food from more plant food in the air, cheaper air conditioning, and fewer and less intense frontal systems. At least the first two are true.

  134. More Soylent Green! says:

    PeterF says:
    April 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm
    Does that mean that Florida and Hawaii are becoming the ‘Soylent Green’ states of the nation?

    You should only purchase free-range or locally grown Soylent Green (R)

  135. Gail Combs says:

    “even minor temperature variations caused by climate change may also increase death rates…”

    Yeah, right. I am in my sixties and the husband in his seventies. This last week the temp has gone from 30F to near 80F (-1C to 27C) We routinely work outside all summer when the temp is 90 to 100+F and the humidity is sky high. We are also probably in a lot better physical shape compared to these Ivory tower types.

    If they are so darned concerned about the elderly then they would make very sure our energy is dirt cheap! Instead the USA and Australia are shipping our coal (using diesel fuel) to China to manufacture goods that will then be shipped back (using diesel fuel) to be sold in our countries.

    This not only increases pollution it wastes fuel and wipes out jobs.

    As Coal Use Declines in U.S., Coal Companies Focus on China

    With aging coal-fired U.S. power plants shutting down, major American coal companies are exporting ever-larger amounts of coal to China. Now, plans to build two new coal-shipping terminals on the West Coast….. http://e360.yale.edu/feature/as_coal_use_declines_in_us_coal_companies_focus_on_china/2474/

    Talk about complete and utter insanity! After reading this it is evident that pollution/CO2 foot print has nothing what ever to do with the EPA’s stand on CAGW.

  136. Zeke says:

    Massachusetts is the North Korea of the United States. My advice is not to elect any one from that state in the near future.

  137. michael hart says:

    I wonder. Does this model imply that James Hansen goes round all their houses, turns off their air conditioning, and opens their windows? He already did it to the elected representatives of the people. :)

  138. Phil Cartier says:

    The biggest laugher in the whole paper: “Finally, we found evidence that cardiovascular deaths, especially cardiac arrest deaths, show much larger increases on extremely cold days than other mortality causes.”
    As one who grew up in Minnesota where things can get cold and snowy, every winter storm was accompanied by numerous warnings to people, especially older gentlement to take it easy shovelling snow. Most snow storms, especially early in the season, were followed by clear cold weather. After every one the newspapers and news stations ran stories on older guys suffering heart attacks while shovelling snow.

    As far as the temperatures go, that one sentence destroys the whole case they are trying to make. When it comes to temperature, cold kills lots of people fast, for a variety of reasons. High temperatures take days and can be easily ameliorated by affordable airconditiong. Every summer has a story or two about an old couple being found dead three days in a closed, unairconditioned apartment because they couldn’t afford an A/C unit and were too debilitated to walk a mile or two to a hospital or some place where they could keep cool for free.

    The other laugher is the use of Medicare and Medicaid data as a source of data. The quality of the data is highly suspect since it is only connected incidentally in the course of payments. The fraud rate in Medicare/Medicaid is high, at least as high as the variability in the temperatures.

    The paper makes no mention of how they determined cause and effect with so many variables that could affect the cause of death. It’s a correlation, not an analysis of causes.

  139. “If the choice comes down to increasing our carbon footprint to provide adequate air conditioning for the elderly or just giving them a pain killer, which option do you think Obama, Hansen, and other eco-nuts would choose?”

    Hansen would choose a larger speaking fee. After 8-12 hours of first class travel.

    Obama would choose a two week Hawaiian vacation. With wife on a separate 747. And his dog in a Lear Jet.

    The rest of the econuts would choose a fund filled week in Rio!

  140. dp says:

    Roger says:
    April 10, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I read an article in “The Onion” several years ago which pointed out that despite all the advances in medical science, the mortality rate still stands at 100%.

    Good observation. The mortality rate flatlined quite early in Earth’s history. The science on that was settled a very long time ago, and the consensus goes to the mortality alarmists and solidly against the mortality deniers. If only climate science were this easy.

  141. Blade says:

    MattN [April 10, 2012 at 3:33 am] says:

    “1C higher will kill more elderly? Then why in the hell do they all move from the mid-west and northeast to Florida and Arizona?”

    Bingo! The first of 141 comments in this thread is leadoff home run. I was all set to slice and dice the utter insanity of this ‘study’ from the idiotic ivory tower eggheads up in Boston Mass but MattN already cut their legs off with one simple sentence.

    So I’ll just mention this one thing. Where do people go when they are cursed with chronic health problems? Hmmmm. Perhaps we might ask this question to the UK born carpet-bagger PM of Australia, a green eco-Nazi who no doubt supports the thrust of this propaganda, whose parents faced this very question many years ago and moved their ailing child many degrees of latitude south towards the equator to thrive in a climate many degrees warmer. Oh, the irony. It burns.

    To our friends down under … Seriously, if she ever opens her mouth about this subject just ram this irony right down her throat.

  142. sophocles says:

    Harvard said:
    Mortality risk was higher in hotter regions, the researchers found. Noting that physiological studies suggest that the elderly and those with chronic conditions have a harder time than others adjusting to extreme heat, they say it’s likely these groups may also be less resilient than others to bigger-than-usual temperature swings.
    ===========================================================================
    and when there is an extreme fall in temperature in winter, the “less resilient” also have a harder time, probably more so. We know that: the unhealthy have a hard time, period. That’s why we care for them, and air-condition the hospitals.

    The study is meaningless.

  143. JohnM says:

    JohnH says:
    April 10, 2012 at 3:58 am
    “And assuming you believe in AGW, where is the study showing the reduction in deaths due to warmer winters. Usual biased rubbish”

    But..But..
    Global warming doesn’t preclude colder winters !
    We may get extremes: Colder winters and warmer summers !
    In any case, isn’t that what greenies want ?
    Oldies dying from the cold AND from the hot ?
    Gottum both ways.
    Throw-in a healthy dose of oral contraceptives and Win-Win !

  144. David Cage says:

    As a UK pensioner I am far more concerned about any fall in temperature. Heating costs here thanks to climate change levies and greedy gas companies with no competition from coal have pushed prices through the roof.
    If the world is in so much danger surely it is not too much to ask that climate scientists face an external examiner as I have become too cynical to ever trust any self regulated body. Not once in my life has total trust been rewarded by total integrity. Peer reviewed science is untested science in my book. Freely available scientific information is real science even when I really cannot understand fully it as is the case with relativity mathematics.

  145. Brendy says:

    Extreme temperature variations on a particular day or series of days can be expected to be accompanied by increases in mortality, particularly in vulnerable populations. Futher, in any given season, short term temperature extermes can be expected to be encountered that will increase mortality during that interval, Statistically, howewver, those extremes will average out to a much smaller average fluctuation – i.e., 1 degree C – over the course of a summer or winter. For example, a heat wave of 10 days that is 9 degrees above normal might average out to a 1 degree average increase for an otherwise normal, up and down, 90-day summer. Mortality duiring the heat wave, however, will spike, and be attributed to the 1 degree of average variation by the Harvard folks. However, the supposed increase in mortality is not a result of a variation in average termperature, but simply a function of mortality associated with extreme temperature conditions that are present in almost any season.

  146. Merovign says:

    How many people are killed every year by incompetent and dishonest researchers?

  147. Ken Harvey says:

    When you get to my age you may recall that when you were young a number of your friends died in car or motor cycle accidents. Sadly, those who were lost in armed conflict were of the same age group. You will also realise that over the last decade or two almost all of your remaining friends have already died of old age. You will hope to dodge the hurdles of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, but old age is going to get you in the end. Of the many hundreds of friends and acquaintances that I have known over the years I never came across one whose demise suggested that it was the warm weather that did for him.

  148. Malcolm Miller says:

    Here in Canberra, Australia, the diurnal temperature range is often 20º C or more. In the 60 years I’ve lived here, no deaths have been attributed to this.

  149. Malcolm Miller says:

    Here in Canberra, Australia, the diurnal temperature range is often 20ºC or more. In the 60 years I have lived her as an adult I have never heard of this being a cause of death.

  150. So, they are proposing shutting off the AC to reduce the emissions from the power stations, right?

  151. Gail Combs says:

    Lonnie E. Schubert says:
    April 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    So, they are proposing shutting off the AC to reduce the emissions from the power stations, right?
    _______________________________________
    You got it. The EPA plant to shut down all the US Coal plants.

    Coal produces 42% of US electric. Energy costs are already high enough that I ran all winter without turning on my central heat. Last summer (in North Carolina) I set the A/C for 85F (29.5C) and normally just open the windows at night using fans to cool off the house and then closed up the house in the morning. There is not much else I can do to cut my energy use.

    If we go into routine rolling blackouts here in the USA there are going to be some very irate voters and tax payers many of them Tea Party members or the elderly on fixed income. The kids are not going to be happy either when they find Mom & Dad need financial help because of rising costs. The Blair-Rockefeller Poll found that Tea Party members are predominantly white, middle class, educated, Christian males over the age of 45…

    The 2010 US Census found Between 2000 and 2010, the 45 to 64 population grew 31.5 percent to 81.5 million, and now makes up 26. 4 percent of the total U.S. population… 40.3 million Americans are age 65 and older, an estimated 13% of the population… YIKES that is 44.5% of the US population?!?

    According to the Blair-Rockefeller Poll, the democrats are loosing support from the elderlyShifting Support for Democratic Party among American Elderly

    If we get another four years of Washington DC insanity I can see a third party gaining a lot of ground and a three way split as Republicans and Democrats desert their parties in disgust. In 2010, 16% told the Blair-Rockefeller Poll they were independents, 41% said they were Democrats and 40.5% Republicans. The other 12.5% did not answer.

    The internet is opening a lot of eyes to the political sausage making and back scratching and I think it is starting to really hit home.

  152. DJA says:

    By this criteria there should be no old vulnerable people living in Melbourne, As this is NOT the case the premise fails.

  153. Smokey says:

    The conjecture that claims heat related deaths will increase is contradicted by verifiable facts.

  154. Ari Tai says:

    Poverty kills. The ~15,000 old-folks that died in the Paris heat wave a few Augusts ago (while their children vacationed down south) all for the lack of a few 150 Euro Chinese manufactured airconditioners (and ability to pay the inflated EDF power bill as well). To say nothing of EDF crying poverty while half-their-salaries go to government officials. Shades of AT&T.

  155. Dave Dodd says:

    Doctors kill more people than do guns. I didn’t know that applied to PhDs.

    All credibility was lost when the National Academy of Sciences tagline floated by…

  156. Keith Sketchley says:

    Uh, without reading this I am going to ask:
    - how many would cold kill, without energy? Elderly people are less robust in general.
    - it seems plausible that higher temperatures will cause difficulty for people with serious lung problems, as is common (genetic disposition plus smoking – many elderly live with oxygen equipment such a portable cylinder feeding an outlet into their nostrils (a “canula”)

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