Which is responsible for more U.S. deaths — Excessive Heat or Excessive Cold?

deadly_hot_coldDr. Indur Goklany writes:

Earlier today on WUWT in the post, UHI and Heat Related Mortality, a researcher from Arizona claims that, “Extreme heat is the leading weather-related killer in the United States.”  I am afraid that this piece of nonsense is about to become conventional wisdom.  However, this is based on cherry-picking one’s data source.  The full story is given in the attached paper written in 2011.

Which is responsible for more U.S. deaths Excessive Heat or Excessive Cold?

by Indur M. Goklany

The USGCRP Synthesis Report states that data on 19,958 deaths from weather related extreme events from 1970 to 2004 for the US indicates that heat/drought is responsible for the largest share (19.6%), followed by severe weather, defined to include fog, hail, wind and thunderstorm (18.8%) and winter weather (18.1%). This information is sourced to Borden and Cutter (2008), henceforth B&C. [Note that these estimates exclude deaths from excess winter mortality, which is a chronic phenomenon unrelated to extreme weather. Also, note that it’s not just global warming, but also the heat island effect that may contribute to excessive deaths in warm weathers.]

In contrast to B&C, other researchers have identified deaths from excessive cold as the single largest cause with twice as many dying from excessive cold as excessive heat (e.g., Deschenes and Moretti, 2009; Thacker et al., 2008; Goklany, 2007, 2009; Goklany and Straja 2000).

What accounts for this discrepancy?

As acknowledged by B&C (p. 10 of 13), it depends on data source as well as how the events are grouped. B&C used the Spatial Hazard Events and Losses Database for the United States (SHELDUS; available at www.sheldus.org) which is derived primarily from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) monthly Storm Data publications, while the other publications use death certificate data maintained by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the Compressed Mortality File. In the US, death certificates must be accompanied by a medical certificate of death signed by the attending physician at time of death. As such, the CDC’s Compressed Mortality File is the best source for the cause of death.

B&C justify their choice on the basis that “unlike Storm Data (upon which SHELDUS is based), the Compressed Mortality File is not solely focused on natural hazard events. Although both SHELDUS and the Compressed Mortality File likely suffer from undercounting hazard related deaths [4,39], it is known that the only reason any of the deaths appear in Storm Data (and SHELDUS) is because of some natural event. In the CDC’s Compressed Mortality File, deaths are interpreted from classifying the underlying cause listed on death certificates [4], whereas SHELDUS mortality is derived from Storm Data.” It also notes that the coding system used by the CDC was revised after 1998.

Neither of these reasons is compelling. First, Storm Data procedures were also changed in the 1990s (B&C, p. 3; Dixon et al., p. 939). More importantly, studies that have attempted to verify numbers from Storm Data or the Annual Summaries based on Storm Data, find that they substantially underestimate deaths (e.g., Ashley and Gilson, 2009; Goklany, 1999, 2007). To quote Dixon et al. (2005): “weather-related catastrophic ‘group kills’ rather than ‘individual kills’ are more likely to be included in Storm Data. Therefore, this may tend to give more complete numbers for weather-related categories, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, or heat waves, than for deaths from winter cold, and the multiple categories for excessive cold deaths can also introduce an underreporting of cold deaths.” They also observe that, “The CDC NCHS’s Compressed Mortality Database is, in general, a more comprehensive database. As such, it would more likely include weather-related ‘single kills’ than would Storm Data.”

This observation is critical because it is possible to have people die from excessive cold even in the midst of a “normal” winter because of exposure to elements as an unintended consequence of intended or unintended actions (e.g., taking a walk in the cold or through loss of heating, for whatever reason).

Dixon et al. also add that, “However, the Compressed Mortality Database is limited by the medical personnel’s actual determination of the ‘weather relatedness’ of death, and the database often runs years behind current events.” Regarding the first part of this argument, one should note that determining the cause of death requires medical expertise rather than meteorological expertise such as the NCDC possesses. With respect to the second part, one must respond that in a scientific exercise, speed of reporting cannot take precedence over the accuracy or completeness of data.

Finally, although NCDC is a part of NOAA, the data it provides (based on Storm Data) is sometimes at odds with data from other parts of NCDC. For example, its data on deaths from floods is different from that of the Hydrological Information Center (HIC), the group within NOAA charged with keeping data on flood deaths. And the compilers of the Storm Data-derived Annual Summaries, themselves have in the past suggested using the HIC compilation (Goklany, 1999, footnote 38, pp. 337-338; 2007, footnote 214, p. 457, 2009, pp. 105-106).

For all these reasons, it is more appropriate to use the CDC’s Compressed Mortality Database for deaths from excessive heat and cold. And this database indicates that on average twice as many people die from excessive cold than excessive heat.

Additional References

Ashley,W.S., and Gilson, C.W. 2009. A Reassessment of U.S. lightning mortality. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, doi: 10.1175/2009BAMS2765.1.

Borden, K.A., and Cutter, S.L. 2008. Spatial patterns of natural hazards mortality in the United States. International Journal of Health Geographics, doi:10.1186/1476-072X-7-64.

Deschenes, O., Moretti, E. 2009. Extreme Weather Events, Mortality and Migration. Review of Economics and Statistics 91(4): 659–681.

Dixon, P.G., Brommer, D.M., Hedquist, B.C., Kalkstein, A.J., Goodrich, G.B., Walter, J.C., Dickerson, C.C., Penny, S.J., and Cerveny, R.S.. 2005: Heat mortality versus cold mortality: A study of conflicting databases in the United States. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 86, 937–943.

Goklany, I.M. 1999. Richer is More Resilient: Dealing With Climate Change and More Urgent Environmental Problems. In: Bailey, R., ed. Earth Report 2000, Revisiting the True State of the Planet. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, pp. 155-187.

Goklany, I.M. 2007. The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet. Washington, DC: Cato Institute: 167.

Goklany, I.M. 2009. Deaths and Death Rates from Extreme Weather Events: 1900-2008. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 14 (4): 102-09.

Goklany, I.M., and Straja, S.R. 2000. “U.S. Death Rates due to Extreme Heat and Cold Ascribed to Weather, 1979-1997.” Technology 7S: 165-173.

Thacker, M.T.F., Lee, R., Sabogal, R.I., and Henderson, A. 2008. Overview of deaths associated with natural events, United States, 1979–2004. Disasters 2008, 32(2):303-315.

US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). 2009. Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. Cambridge University Press.

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Lance Wallace
June 2, 2014 6:34 pm

Where is the attached paper?

June 2, 2014 6:35 pm

Once it becomes fashionable to cook the numbers to support a political agenda, there’s no limit to what you can do.

Steve Case
June 2, 2014 6:47 pm
June 2, 2014 6:47 pm

It has been recognized for many years that in cold climate areas like the northern half of the nation that cold weather has the high death rate especially with the elderly and small children.

June 2, 2014 6:53 pm

Lets have a little sanity here. A lot more poor people lack air conditioning in hot climates than lack heat in cold climates.
Heat is not an optional extra, it is a necessity in a cold climate. No heat, you die. Air conditioning on the other hand is a luxury that you can survive without, providing you are healthy.

Tim Walker
June 2, 2014 7:02 pm

Steve Case says:
June 2, 2014 at 6:47 pm
U.S. Average Daily Death by Month
It is quite obvious that cold in the US not heat kills more people.
peter says:
June 2, 2014 at 6:53 pm
Lets have a little sanity here. A lot more poor people lack air conditioning in hot climates than lack heat in cold climates.
Heat is not an optional extra, it is a necessity in a cold climate. No heat, you die. Air conditioning on the other hand is a luxury that you can survive without, providing you are healthy.
Quite obviously Peter you make a point that we could use a warmer climate as cold is harder to deal with than the heat.

June 2, 2014 7:12 pm

Water supply, in heat it get’s used too much, in freezing it bursts pipes and freezes. Electricity supplies are strained either way.- Prolonged cold or hot weather can effect all living creatures if they don’t have electricity and incapable of keeping warm or cool. However indigenous folk seem to be able to cope with it and adapt. What did they say in the British Raj, ‘Only mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun.”

June 2, 2014 7:29 pm

If you had to make a choice, would you rather sweat or shiver?

June 2, 2014 7:40 pm

Neither, ossqss. But I guess sweat so long as I have head cover and plenty of water to drink. Cold weather stresses you blood sugar supply and you use more up to keep warm. I thought one of the first lessons humans learned was to adapt to the weather changes.

June 2, 2014 8:10 pm

Dr. Indur Goklany, thank you for supplying the data source and the explanation of the behind the curtain differences of various data collections. This helps Mr and Mrs average “thinking person” to actually make our own informed comparison, rather than just simply accepting without question the media outlet spin and bias in the re-telling that goes on these days. Your input and expertise is one reason that I like to come to this site and be happy to refer others to look and learn.
It is so hard to get through media bias and propaganda particularly here in Australia, where our traditional sources have been largely captured by a one sided propaganda biased to the meme of catastrophic warming to achieve ever higher taxation, social control and regulation, even to the extent of trying to censor truth, and now by hysterical tone, remove or frustrate the aims of the newly elected government that does not agree with their extreme left wing agenda.
Truth, facts, good collection and use of data and encouragement of the examination of scientific theories sure beats assertion and propaganda. Thank you for your informative response.

Theo Goodwin
June 2, 2014 8:15 pm

Not being able to pay for air conditioning in the summer time is an inconvenience. You can get by with fans. As a long time resident of St. Louis, I know that fans save lives in heat emergencies.
Not being able to pay for heat in the winter is deadly. Many a time, there have been news reports of elderly people found frozen in their beds or found alive but frozen to the bed.

June 2, 2014 8:32 pm

Alice and I frequently enjoy a week or more in non-air conditioned rustic huts in very hot places, such as Peleliu, and I lived four years on Oahu (Hickam Air Force Base) without air conditioning. Open windows, and a small electrical fan occasionally, are all that is needed in a hot climate. I also did Air Force Basic Training, and six years later Officer Training School, at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas during the middle of summer each time, plus summers in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Turkey, Korea, and The Philippines without air conditioning. I not only survived, I thrived! However, I can think of a lot of winters that were quite miserable since the heating systems in old military buildings often leave a lot to be desired. I probably couldn’t survive the cold now that I did in my younger days, and cold is far more uncomfortable and difficult to endure than heat. On a hot day, find shade, drink lots of water, wear light clothing, and take it easy and wait for the cooler evening. When it’s cold, layer clothing, stay in a heated area, and avoid windy places or becoming sweaty from too much activity. And really bundle up at night, because the cold then is worse when you’re trying to rest and you can’t get warm. I’m afraid that there are a lot of young “hothouse plant” academics who haven’t found themselves living on the edge in hot and cold places. It’s a pity that we don’t have universal military service, because reality provides a rich learning experience.

June 2, 2014 8:41 pm

I have WORKED in summer Desert and Tundra WINTER. The heat is a discomfort and requires more water. The cold is DEADLY and can maim and kill in a short time. Humans evolved in the hot parts of the world, they have adapted to the cold ones. Just Who is so stupid as to prefer cold? pg

John Slayton
June 2, 2014 8:46 pm

Dr. Goklany,
How do these data sources treat the casualty rate of undocumented immigrants on the southern US border? There are a considerable number of these; I just looked at a study which attributed something like 60% to hot weather. If these cases are included, it would tilt the results toward hot weather, even though the underlying causes are economic and political, rather than climate itself.

June 2, 2014 8:58 pm

The “excess deaths from heat” nonsense has got to be the biggest crock of the whole global warming scam, even more stupid than ocean “acidification”.
Humans evolved in the hottest climate on Earth – we’re one of the few species in the world which sweats, and which can operate continuously at high efficiency on the scorching savannah or steaming jungles.
In every environment except our native environment, we have to wear clothes, to stay warm.
I live in a part of the world which hits 35c (95F) at high humidity for pretty much the whole summer. At these temperatures, pets, dogs and cats, especially if they have a lot of fur, need special attention – but humans are just fine, so long as they remember a simple rule – if you are too hot, remove some clothing.

Mark Luhman
June 2, 2014 9:01 pm

I have a simple test for the AZ researchers, we will put them out in the Arizona desert this time of year in a pair of shorts, with plenty of water. There is no chance they will die. I will put them in the north woods in January I will pick a below zero weather make no matches in a pair of shorts yet plenty of water, They would not last and much more than hour. If they want to stick to their claim heat kills more people I suggest they take my test. It would fix two problems at once falsify there guess, and eliminate some idiots or basic dishonest people from the face of the earth. If they are not willing to take the test that will also falsify their guess.

Mark Luhman
June 2, 2014 9:14 pm

John Slayton the telling think is how people will chance crossing rugged terrain in the heat, yet you will find few takers crossing rugged terrain in extreme cold. Human are less afraid of heat than cold. To survive heat all you need is enough water, to survive cold you need optimal clothing and some kind of heat source. Most people would never contemplate a trek across a wilderness in extreme cold. Have been out in 110 plus heat and -20 degree cold I will take the heat any time. Yes I have come sloe to over heating more than one, But I have always choose to hike in the heat near permanent water, on other time sought shade and drank the ample water I had. Out in -20 frost bit both ears even though I started a fire. Also was dressed for it yet could not stand more than four hours in it. If you were to break a leg in such and environment you would be dead, even in a forest are you would not be able to gather enough wood to keep warm long enough. Many hunter end up dead in the mountains because they got lost and could not find their way out, The funny thing about hypothermia is the southern 48 have move deaths from it than the northern 48, it called cotton kills.

Mike Smith
June 2, 2014 9:34 pm

Those poor warmists. They just can’t get a break on the data, can they?
Seriously, it seems to me that the warmist claims have become dramatically more outlandish in recent months. And dramatically less fact based. One after another has been demolished on a brief examination of some hard data..Public skepticism in clearly on the rise in many places around the world. Recent developments in Australia, Canada, the Farage landslide in the UK and more have created an interesting backdrop as the USA heads into an election year in 2016.
Employment, earning and GDP remain firmly in the doldrums. Incumbent political operators are getting increasingly nervous and I think desperate.

June 2, 2014 9:34 pm

Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
Thank you, Dr. Goklany. Yes, it is easily proven by simply paying attention. Many more people die from cold, especially when accompanied by heavy snow or ice and power outage. Further, heat wave related deaths tend to drop the average death rate in the area for weeks after the event, since heat tends to hasten the death of those who are already dying. However, the average death rate does not drop after cold spells, because cold is an equal opportunity killer. Heat mostly kills the careless and the those who planned improperly. Cold tends to kill even the prepared because there is so little margin for error.
Cold kills. Warmer is better.

June 2, 2014 9:44 pm

I always wanted to have an explanation why some people move to Alaska after retirement and not Florida. That must be it, or …..

John Slayton
June 2, 2014 9:47 pm

Mark Luhman says:
I have a simple test for the AZ researchers, we will put them out in the Arizona desert this time of year in a pair of shorts, with plenty of water. There is no chance they will die.
Would that it were true. As reported in the NYTimes in May of last year (my bold):
In the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office here…774 sets of remains awaited identification in mid-May, stored in musty body bags coated in dust.

There were 463 deaths in the past fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30 — the equivalent of about five migrants dying every four days, according to an analysis by the Washington Office on Latin America…. In the time federal statistics have been compiled, only 2005 had more deaths….

In Tucson, the medical examiner’s office, which handles autopsies for the border counties in the Tucson sector — three of Arizona’s four border counties — received 49 sets of remains from Jan. 1 to May 9….
Early this month, the office unveiled a computerized mapping database bearing the records of 1,826 migrants who died in the desert, listing GPS coordinates for where they were found and, if known, their sex, age and cause of death…Combined, the hundreds of red dots that represent people who died of exposure to the intense desert heat and cold, by far the most common among the causes of death, look like an unshapely bruise.


June 2, 2014 10:04 pm

for what it’s worth:
29 May: Fox News: 60,000 Cattle dead in Bolivia cold wave
The Cattle Raisers Federation in the northeastern Bolivian province of Beni reported Thursday that at least 60,000 head of livestock have died due to the cold wave that has beset the Andean nation for a week…
Arteaga said that the ranchers were still recovering from the damage caused by the rains, when they were surprised by the low temperatures, which worsened their situation even more.
The cold wave, which has brought low temperatures of minus 16 C (3 F) in some parts of the country, last week resulted in five fatalities due to hypothermia in Bolivia, two of them in the eastern province of Santa Cruz and three in the Andean regions of La Paz and Potosi.

June 2, 2014 10:07 pm

Well, that is the problem with illegal aliens.
they are – basically – illegal and are NOT controlled nor in places of safety from either hot nor cold. They ARE sources of easily controlled voting populations, and therefore ARE being encouraged to enter the US at all possible speed by every possible door, hole, and fence post.
The Canadian “civilized” Mounted Police in environments equally dangerous 116 years ago very, very carefully regulated every miner (no minors!) who tried to cross the passes and the rivers from Alaska. You HAD TO HAVE the right food, water, supplies, clothing, and preparations. or you were denied entry.

June 2, 2014 10:07 pm

And, of course, we have 24,000 who died last winter in the UK.
5,000 in one month alone this spring.

June 2, 2014 10:08 pm

June 2, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Eric Worrall says:

[ … ] remember a simple rule – if you are too hot, remove some clothing.

Ah Ha! Eric, that accounts for all of those strange people up Maryborough way in summer 😉

June 2, 2014 10:16 pm

2 June: KTHV: 6 surprising ways weather predicts health
1. Heart attack – In 2012 one U-S study found an 18 percent increase in heart attack deaths in winter and a 10 to 12 percent decrease in summer. Cold weather may constrict blood vessels or lead to more blood clots…

June 2, 2014 10:19 pm

I rather agree that cold is by far more deadly than heat. But I have to make this observation also:
The best defense against both is exactly the same. A reliable, cost effective energy supply.

Steve P
June 2, 2014 10:20 pm

John Slayton says:
June 2, 2014 at 9:47 pm
John, I read the NYT article. Nowhere in it is any cause of death given for the “immigrants,” nor is there any mention of water.
Therefore, I must conclude that you just assumedthat those who perished had enough water. My assumption, by contrast, is that they did not have enough water, which is the most probable cause of death in a hot desert.
I’ve lived in very hot places, and very cold ones. I agree completely with what
Mark Luhman says:
June 2, 2014 at 9:01 pm

June 2, 2014 10:35 pm

Which causes more deaths, hot or cold? Who cares. I mean, seriously, what a stupid and utterly pointless debate.

June 2, 2014 10:49 pm

11 May: Observer-Report, Pennsylvania: Winter weather delays plants, crops
Several local greenhouses and nurseries said the harsh winter weather – mainly the long, deep freezes – resulted in the delay or damage of their products. As a result, some places had a minimal amount of products to sell for Mother’s Day…
At Joseph’s Nursery and Garden Center in Monessen, co-owner Michael Joseph said anything not grown in a greenhouse took a hit.
“What was in the fields, the deer did a lot of damage to the plants,” he said. “All the buds on the zinnias and rhododendrons, the deer spoiled. The groundhogs ate all the bark off the trees, as well.”
After 60-some years in business, Joseph said this was the first time wildlife had such an impact…
“It didn’t kill them,” he said. “But it did set them back. There won’t be any buds or flowers this year.”
Joseph said this past winter was difficult on everybody.
“I can’t remember when we had a winter that lasted so long. The snow stayed on so long that it froze things from the stem. Everything is going to be late coming out.”…
JoAnn Andrews, owner of Silver Creek Nursery, in McDonald said ground cover was especially affected this year. Andrews said she specializes in ground cover and never witnessed ivy “do what it did this year.
“I have ivy in my greenhouse that isn’t doing a thing. It’s just sitting there,” Andrews said. “And in people’s yards, it just burned out.”…
At Simmons Farm in McMurray, this year’s peach crop froze.
Co-owner Scott Simmons said there were “just too many days below minus-5 degrees.”
“The cold kills the buds,” he said. “But the trees are alive.”…
The weather also affected Simmons’ strawberry crop. Simmons said the berries are normally ready around May 25, the first week of June at the latest.
“I don’t think we’ll see any until June 10. Everything is behind in its normal schedule.”
That includes items grown in their greenhouses. Simmons said the annuals, perennials and hanging baskets are about “10 days behind.”
And it’s already taking a toll on business…

Steve P
June 2, 2014 11:03 pm

TBear says:
June 2, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Which causes more deaths, hot or cold? Who cares. I mean, seriously, what a stupid and utterly pointless debate.

Your fatuous comment does not really deserve a serious response.
It’s only stupid and utterly pointless to those who have no curiosity, who were never Boy Scouts, who’ve never come close to freezing to death, and who have not a lick of common sense.
Boy Scout motto: Be prepared!
–sp (almost froze to death in -65F wind chill, rode bicycle in 115-120F heat on several occasions, maybe even tomorrow)

June 2, 2014 11:39 pm

Seems we have two data sources, one based on events, one based on the general background situation.
Isnt that the definition of weather vs climate ?

Bill Parsons
June 2, 2014 11:57 pm

TBear says:
June 2, 2014 at 10:35 pm
Which causes more deaths, hot or cold? Who cares. I mean, seriously, what a stupid and utterly pointless debate.

I don’t anticipate making any more of it than the warmers, whose rhetoric is suddenly heating up ahead of Obama’s Cap and Trade push, and will escalate still further heading into the November elections when we can (hopefully) trow de bums out!
Unfortunately their awful policies will outlive their political careers, and that’s why I’m interested in the rationale they employ to promote those policies. Elevated numbers of heat-related deaths is one of the justifications they posit for ramming expensive energy legislation down our throats. It will be expensive and counterproductive.
Indur Goklany: Thanks for the post. I was hoping we’d hear from you on this topic. Have you seen any “excess mortality” data on the 2014 winter?

June 3, 2014 12:34 am

I hate to be a pain but I don’t suppose you have a list on this subject??

John Slayton
June 3, 2014 12:56 am

Steve P:
Therefore, I must conclude that you just assumedthat those who perished had enough water. My assumption, by contrast, is that they did not have enough water, which is the most probable cause of death in a hot desert.
Actually, my assumption is the same as yours, that people unused to the extremes of southern Arizona desert did not bring enough water. One could argue for dehydration as the cause of death. But if you follow the general discussion, both on the internet and in the print media, I think you will find that extreme temperatures are widely cited as causal. The NYT article is clearly a case in point; look again at the section I put in bold type.
So my original question to Dr. Goklany remains. Are these deaths included in either of the data compilations he discusses as caused by weather? If so, how do they skew the results?

June 3, 2014 12:58 am

Even IF they proved beyond doubt that heat kills more people in the US than cold – so what? What does that tell me about global warming? Remove all triple and double glazing in Scandinavia and let me know the new death rate? Remove all air-conditioners from homes in Arizona and let me know the new death rate? Do it worldwide and let me know the results on death rates. Cold will kill more people than heat. Period.
Homo Sapiens are tropical animals.
Here is the quote you need to understand.

“Homo sapiens come from the tropics. That is why we create tropical microclimates in our homes, our cars and beneath layers of clothing.”

June 3, 2014 1:14 am

excessive heat definitely kills. But, the answer is more energy, not less.

June 3, 2014 1:27 am

Wiki claims:

Dallol in the Danakil Depression is one of the hottest places year-round anywhere on Earth. The climate varies from around 25 °C (77 °F) during the rainy season (September–March) to 48 °C (118 °F) during the dry season (March–September).

National Geographic claims:

National Geographic
In Africa’s Afar depression, pastoral tribes and salt traders survive amid a surreal landscape of fissures, faults, and a boiling lake of lava.

This is the general area they found ‘Lucy’. Other references say it is one of the hottest inhabited places on Earth. Maybe it was freezing cold in Lucy’s time. 🙂
The claim about cold V heat deaths is propaganda and deflection. Look at poverty metrics and UHI instead.

June 3, 2014 1:31 am

Ah Ha! Eric, that accounts for all of those strange people up Maryborough way in summer 😉
That, and the fact it is Maryborough… 🙂

June 3, 2014 1:44 am

” If you have reached the autumn of your years, watch out for winter! For reasons which are not wholly clear, from age 70 the odds of death in January or February are much higher than in the rest of the year. ”
” Countries with relatively warm
or moderate climate like Spain, Portugal, and Italy or the UK and Ireland
experience much larger excess winter mortality than countries with harsh
climatic conditions during winter such as Finland and Norway. ”
Swedish mortality rate 2013:
Highest in January: 8 789
Lowest in June: 6 836
Swedish statistics ( only in swedish ):

June 3, 2014 2:31 am

Some great facts posted above. It is true that winter is tough on circulation and death rates from heart attack and stroke spike: http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/160/5/492/F1.large.jpg
Another thing to consider is about 500 deaths a year (US) from faulty heating equipment according to the National Fire Protection Association.

June 3, 2014 2:35 am

Since Warmists want to trumpet up heat deaths then please supply free air-conditioners to some of the poorest families in America. Also ensure that their energy costs are kept as low as possible. We must act now? Also disconnect heat supplies to wealthy residents in New York, Washington and Chicago, this is because the US the hottest evaaaaaaaaaaaah!
There should be an immediate halt for Scandinavians who stupidly and willingly visit the country called Kenya each year. The darn place is on the equator. We must act now to save the lives of naive Scandinavians visiting the Masai Mara National Reserve. We must ban the taking of saunas too.
Climate shock? Acclimatization? What is the story?

1 December, 2011
Kenya’s tourism sector is poised for a major boost…..
25 July 2012
Maldives registers 6.1% tourist arrival growth
….A total of 458,068 tourist arrivals were registered from January to June 2012. This is an increase of 2.3 percent compared to the same period in 2011. Europe is the market leader for Maldives with 59.9% market share…..

Warmists must realise they are riding on a pack of lies, distortions and propaganda.

Tim Hammond
June 3, 2014 2:47 am

So as I go north from the equator to the pole, do i see life becoming scarcer and harder or the opposite?
Do I need a big grant to work that one out?

June 3, 2014 3:19 am

Off topic but not.
The biggest killer in the USA is the EPA.
In June 1972, Ruckelshaus, new head of EPA, banned DDT as a carcinogen. IT WASN’T.
He never bothered to read the Sweeny Committee report, published 2 months earlier, which concluded that DDT was not a carcinogenic hazard to man.
Actually, it was so safe people could eat it, & did so for 2 years in one experiment.
What DDT was, was a safe, cheap, out of patent anti-malarial agent.
Deaths Worldwide from malaria were down to ~ 50,000 pa.
After the ban, deaths increased to ~ 2 million pa.
That’s around 80 million deaths. More than Hitler killed. More than Mao killed. More than Stalin killed.
A final ironic cherry on this murderous cake?
DDT was never banned.
Rulers in the Third World were told : ” Keep ordering DDT, you get no more foreign aid”
Bribes to Third World rulers to stand by & watch their people slaughtered = Foreign Aid.
It’s the same, here in the UK.
That this planet is overcrowded is one of the pernicious myths we are ruled by.
http://www.drtimball.com & put overpopulation in his search box.
Try: http://www.overpopulationisamyth.com
Try: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVeA07d2F_I
A 7 minute video.
OR, put 5 billion human beings to be murdered — New World…
into the youtube search box.
People no longer have families of 10 to look after their old age if they feel safe with a few quid of their own.
Prosperity is the best contraceptive.
The IMF & World Bank are on a mission to spread “Austerity”.
‘Nuff said.
Then look into Chemtrails:
OR: put Pilots must learn about Geoengineering and chemtrails, present…
1 hr 24 mins presentation by David Lim, a smart young University of Reading scientist.
The fruits of years of research.
My references for DDT?
1) Michael Crichton’s best selling novel: State of Fear.
2) Wildavsky, Aaron. But is it True? A Citizens Guide to Environmental Health and Safety Issues,
Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1994 or 95.
25 pages on DDT, plus sections on Alar, Love Canal, Asbestos, The Ozone Hole, Global Warming & Acid Rain.
Wildavsky concludes that nearly all environmental claims have been either untrue or wildly overstated. Buy 10 copies of each & give 9 away.
The whole “Environmentalist” movement has been hijacked by control freak coward, chicken shit little “The Sky is Falling”, murderous dolts of Ehrlichers, aided & abetted by our politicians, institutions, such as EPA, & of course, the 1%sBanksters.
Mods, you may edit this as you please. 🙂

June 3, 2014 4:24 am

Until CAGW became such a chic cause, the generally accepted fact was that cold resulted in more deaths. So we can add another thing AGW causes – bad statistics.

June 3, 2014 4:35 am

Keatinge e.a. show that the heat mortality in several European cities is only 1/10th of cold related moratlity:
Moreover, after increased mortality during heat waves, there is less mortality in the following months, which points to mortality of people who would decease anyway a few weeks or months later. Not so during and after cold waves and related mortality…
From Curriero e.a.:
Heat and cold mortality in 11 USA cities:

June 3, 2014 5:01 am

As some have stated, people are surprisingly heat tolerant. All we need is water — drink, dunk your head or shirt in water, etc, to keep cool. My cats are tough, but suffer during heat (ditto for dogs or most other animals) — it’s one thing that I can tolerate much better than them.

Joseph Murphy
June 3, 2014 5:33 am

I live in the north. I love the snow and ice. When I first traveled south (a reptile hunting expedition, not killing just observing) on a trip to florida with my father at the age 12, I was amazed at the places people lived in. I couldn’t understand how people could survive without front doors or thick walls. People’s homes looked like shacks to me. Someplace we would store a snowblower, but not enough protection from the elements to live in. During the northern winters everything is close to death. Some predators do well since weak game is abundant. But, if winter persisted, almost eveything would die. If loggers cut-over a deer yard (an area suitable for deer to survive for winter), there are almost no deer in the area for the following decades. When everything is frozen, it is like a dessert. You are in danger of starving to death, freezing to death, and even though you are surounded by water dieing of dehydration. I love the snow and ice because it is a true battle against mother nature, surviving the elments. No hard science here, just a northerner’s amusment at people fearing warmer weather.

June 3, 2014 5:36 am

Is it actually possible to heat air to a point where contact between that air and (normal healthy, properly hydrated) humans is fatal? If so, does such superheated air ever occur naturally?
I know contact with cold air can kill at certain natural but very low temperatures.
How hard is it to see the difference? Cold is the enemy. Heat is our friend.

June 3, 2014 5:43 am

I actually lived a few years in north India where there is a legendary wind called ‘The Loo’ which ‘burns out your eardrums on contact’. I think that was hyperbole. I lived there through the summer and monsoon with no aircon, and frequent power cuts so no fan. 30 years ago when it was much poorer and a Soviet client. I loved it and I keep going back for the warmth.

Evan Jones
June 3, 2014 7:37 am

It would have been a more interesting study to explore the discrepancies. Fortunately we have Doc G to carry on from where Herman Kahn left off.

Robert W Turner
June 3, 2014 8:27 am

Unfortunately the EPA is setting this country up for an explosion of cold-related deaths in the coming years. Gas pipeline infrastructure has been stressed to keep up with heating/electric demand in the eastern U.S. Now that more coal plants are closing and more electricity is being generated by gas, pipelines will not be able to keep up if/when we have another winter like 2013/14. If you live on the east coast make sure you have an alternative heating source.

June 3, 2014 8:55 am

John Slayton says:
June 3, 2014 at 12:56 am

Actually, my assumption is the same as yours, that people unused to the extremes of southern Arizona desert did not bring enough water.

People from Mexico can’t adapt to the extreme weather of Arizona? Who knew!
Also, your only source seems to be the New York Times, a fatuous bunch of anti-science webloggers who still claim that the Holodomor never happened. You might try to find a slightly more sturdy stand to hang your hat on.

June 3, 2014 3:38 pm

You can do this exercise real easy by going to the Center for Disease Control site. They have two reports there on heat- and cold-related deaths between 1999 and 2003. (Don’t know whey they don’t have more updated numbers easily available.)
According to the CDC:
During 1999–2002, a total of 4,607 death certificates in the United States had hypothermia-related diagnoses listed as the underlying cause of death or nature of injury leading to the underlying cause of death (annual incidence: four per 1,000,000 population).
During 1999–2003, a total of 3,442 deaths resulting from exposure to extreme heat were reported (annual mean: 688). For 2,239 (65%) of these deaths, the underlying cause of death was recorded as exposure to excessive heat; for the remaining 1,203 (35%), hyperthermia was recorded as a contributing factor.
So, in three years there were 4607 cold-related deaths (1535.67 per year), while in four years there were 3442 heat-related deaths (860.5 per year). I’d say that’s a pretty definite tilt to the hypothermia side of things.

June 3, 2014 3:49 pm

Historically COLD caused the greatest deaths.
Finland lost ~1/3rd of its population in the Great Famine during the Little Ice Age
I don’t know of any heat related disaster that comes close.
Neumann, J.; Lindgrén, S. (1979). “Great Historical Events That Were Significantly Affected by the Weather: 4, The Great Famines in Finland and Estonia, 1695–97”. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 60 (7): pp775–787. ISSN 1520-0477. doi:10.1175/1520-0477(1979)0602.0.CO;2.
PS Most of the 14,802 deaths from the 2013 heat wave in France were preventable, and due to mismanagement from most health workers going on their August vacation leaving few to ensure that the elderly received needed air conditioning.

June 3, 2014 8:27 pm

The Inuits before being introduced to a carbohydrate rich diet, were living on mainly flesh and blubber, with a little bit of carbohydrate. They like the Neaderthals had developed a metabolism that created energy from proteins and fats. But we need carbohydrates and although protein does produce some energy it is slow to convert. I learned this in 1988 from an archaeologist, who said humans had adapted to most parts of the world accept the polar regions as the Inuits had a different diet to most western civilizations because of the cold and different body shapes to combat the cold. I checked with an leading endocrinologist treating my young son for insulin dependent diabetes. He had worked in Canada and said this was true. The only carbohydrate they got in their diet was a few berries in summer and a soup made from the stomach of seals.
So if we eat lots of carbohydrates in our diet and fat in cold weather we keep the internal fires burning. They are burned off quickly keeping our bodies warm.
Well of course any famine will kill people especially in cold or very hot weather. Then they are also more susceptible for disease such as the black death, small pox, etc.
If you are adapted to cold weather and know how to live in it comfortably, you can survive well.
Personally I think that cold countries where the use of central heating and air conditioners have made us prone to become hot house flowers.

June 3, 2014 8:33 pm

JamesS — You can get slightly more updated info on US deaths from extreme cold and heat in: Deaths and Death Rates from Extreme Weather Events: 1900-2008. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 14 (4): 102-09 (2009) at http://www.jpands.org/vol14no4/goklany.pdf.
David L. Hagen
Take a look at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/06/winter-kills-excess-deaths-in-the-winter-months/. Chronic cold may be killing more than extreme heat or extreme cold.

June 4, 2014 1:11 am

“deaths from extreme cold and heat”
But are they both the same thing?
Please first explain what it is that deaths ‘from’ extreme cold and ‘from’ extreme heat have in common, that we ought to compare them at all?

June 4, 2014 1:23 am

I’ll get you started:-
Hyperthermia (‘heat stress’) is NOT caused by excessive atmospheric heat. It is defined as an internal metabolic failure.
Hypothermia, in contrast, is DIRECTLY CAUSED by exposure to low atmospheric temperatures.

June 4, 2014 2:41 am

this and many other such incidents..dont rate a mention MSM wise…
we dont see a heatwave killing like this.

Chip Knappenberger
June 4, 2014 9:52 am

After spending a bit of time with mortality/weather data, I am of the strong opinion that when it comes to daily weather events, extreme heat kills more people than extreme cold in the U.S.
It is true that more people die in the winter than in the summer, but it is largely unclear why this is the case (it is true in Miami just as it is in Minneapolis). It is far from obvious that a winter warming would lead to fewer deaths.
Influenza plays a strong role in winter deaths, but the relationship between the flu and temperature is not obvious (or readily identifiable in the data).

June 4, 2014 5:35 pm

I think it’s a lot more complicated. First, I think we get seduced by looking at the effect of exceptional events (e.g., extreme cold and/or extreme heat). While this is more dramatic, in general, more people die from “chronic” conditions than extreme situations. Second, Keatinge and others (e.g., Donaldson) have hypothesized physiological routes by which cold weather can increase mortality which makes sense and can explain the association – this is not the same thing as saying cold weather kills by itself, but that effects it might have could, in turn, cause mortality. In fact, the fact that influenza is associated with cold weather could be one of them. Third, several analyses indicate that extreme heat “harvests” deaths, that is, there is an initial increase in mortality (rate) and then a decline. In other words, extreme heat, for the most part, moves deaths forward by a few days, whereas the harvesting effect is much lower, if not non-existent, for extreme cold. (see e.g., Deschenes and Moretti 2009 at http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/rest.91.4.659#.U4-6DigcOuk.
Best regards,

June 5, 2014 5:40 pm

Oh, I should have added that data from CDC’s Compressed Mortality File indicates that more people die from extreme cold rather than extreme heat (see above).

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