Winters not Summers Increase Mortality and Stress the Economy

Guest essay by Joseph D’Aleo and Allan MacRae

Global warming alarmists continue to over-emphasize the danger of heat and ignore cold in their papers and in stories for the media. The danger associated with this misdirection is that cold weather kills many more people that hot weather.

This conclusion is clearly supported by many studies of populations in a wide range of climates. Examples are provided below from a study of thirteen countries, as well as national studies from the United Kingdom, the USA, Canada and Australia.

Furthermore, this conclusion is not new, but has been known for many decades.

WORLD

Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries. The findings were published in The Lancet.

The Summary states:
[excerpt]

We collected data for 384 locations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, and USA.

 

We analysed 74 225 200 deaths in various periods between 1985 and 2012. In total, 7.71% (95% empirical CI 7.43–7.91) of mortality was attributable to non-optimum temperature in the selected countries within the study period, with substantial differences between countries, ranging from 3.37% (3.06 to 3.63) in Thailand to 11.00% (9.29 to 12.47) in China. The temperature percentile of minimum mortality varied from roughly the 60th percentile in tropical areas to about the 80–90th percentile in temperate regions. More temperature-attributable deaths were caused by cold (7.29%, 7.02–7.49) than by heat (0.42%, 0.39–0.44). Extreme cold and hot temperatures were responsible for 0.86% (0.84–0.87) of total mortality.

 

Most of the temperature-related mortality burden was attributable to the contribution of cold. The effect of days of extreme temperature was substantially less than that attributable to milder but non-optimum weather. This evidence has important implications for the planning of public-health interventions to minimize the health consequences of adverse temperatures, and for predictions of future effect in climate-change scenarios.

[end of excerpt]

UNITED KINGDOM

The UK Guardian examined Excess Winter Mortality after the 2012/13 hard winter. A total of about 50,000 Excess Winter Deaths occurred that winter in the UK.

[excerpt]:

Each year since 1950, the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) has looked at excess winter mortality…

Excess winter mortality was 31,100 in England and Wales in 2012/13 – up 29% from the previous year. Figures for Scotland were also released recently showing a much smaller increase in winter deaths, up 4.1% to 19,908. In Northern Ireland meanwhile, the raw numbers were low but the increase was large – a rise of 12.7% to 559 deaths.

The methodology behind the maths is surprisingly simple; the ONS take an average of deaths in winter (those in December to March) and subtract the average of non-winter deaths (April to July of the current year and August to November of the previous year). The result is considered ‘excess’.
[end of excerpt]

In the milder climates of western and southern Europe, the Excess Winter Mortality is greater than in the colder northern climates, where people are more accustomed to colder winters and homes are built to keep the residents warm (better insulation and central heating). Also energy costs in Europe are much higher due to the early adoption of inefficient and much more expensive renewable energy schemes.

clip_image002[4]

UNITED STATES

Similarly, the USA death rate in January and February is more than 1000 deaths per day greater than in July and August.

Indur M. Goklany wrote in 2009 [excerpt]:

Data from the US National Center for Health Statistics for 2001-2008, shows that on average 7,200 Americans died each day during the months of December, January, February and March, compared to the average 6,400 who died daily during the rest of the year. In 2008, there were 108,500 ‘excess’ deaths during the 122 days in the cold months (December to March).
[end of excerpt]

clip_image004National Center for Health Statistics

MORE RECORD LOWS THAN HIGHS IN USA

Despite claims that extreme heat in increasing and cold decreasing, the data the un-adjusted state extreme temperature data shows the opposite.

23 of the state all-time record highs occurred in the 1930s and 38 before 1960. There have been more record lows since the 1940s than record highs.

clip_image006

Source: Dr. John Christy, Senate and House Testimony

CANADA

Statistics Canada also reports deaths by month. The graph below shows that the Canadian death rate in January is more than 100 deaths/day greater than in August, for the years 2007 to 2011. See more here.

clip_image007

AUSTRALIA

Even down under in Australia we see the same story. Queensland University of Technology found (Source Science Daily) Australians are more likely to die during unseasonably cold winters than hotter than average summers.

[excerpt]

Across the country severe winters that are colder and drier than normal are a far bigger risk to health than sweltering summers that are hotter than average.

QUT Associate Professor Adrian Barnett, a statistician with the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and the lead researcher of the study, said death rates in Australian cities were up to 30 per cent higher in winter than summer.

The researchers analyzed temperature, humidity and mortality data from 1988 to 2009 for Adelaide Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Professor Barnett said the finding that hotter or more humid summers had no effect on mortality was “surprising.”

“We know that heat waves kill people in the short-term, but our study did not find any link between hotter summers and higher deaths,” he said.

[end of excerpt]

WINTER ECONOMIC IMPACT

An article in the Associated Press stated: [excerpt]

There’s something strange about the U.S. economy in the first three months of every year: It frequently grows at a much slower pace than in the other nine months…

Alec Phillips, an economist at Goldman Sachs, noticed that from 2010 through 2014, growth in the first three months of the year has averaged 0.6 percent, while it has averaged 2.9 percent in the other three quarters.

And Macroeconomic Advisers, a forecasting firm, has found that the pattern goes back further: Since 1995, outside of recessions, the first quarter has grown at half the pace of the other three. [end of excerpt]

The government agency charged with calculating the economy’s growth rate said it would adjust its methods in an effort to resolve the problem. Other economists, including at the Federal Reserve in Washington, have concluded that the government’s figures are largely accurate. The first-quarter weakness over the years may be due in part to harsh winter weather.

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100 thoughts on “Winters not Summers Increase Mortality and Stress the Economy

  1. Assuming this is accurate, those trying to limit CO2 with the belief that they are going to make the planet cooler would be killing people. Fortunately, their efforts at limiting plant food will not have the results they expect. It will still be fun to question their hypocrisy though. I think I will just keep repeating the question – “but if cold kills so many people, why do you want to make the planet cooler?

    • Mike O said on May 24, 2015 at 9:43 pm
      “Assuming this is accurate…”

      Our essay IS accurate Mike – check out all the hyperlinked references in our article, which ALL point to the same conclusion:
      Cold weather and its associates.(flu, accidents, etc.) kill many times more people than warm weather.

      Regards, Allan

      Excess winter mortality in Europe: a cross country analysis identifying key risk factors
      http://jech.bmj.com/content/57/10/784.full

      Table 1 – Coefficient of seasonal variation in mortality (CSVM) in EU-14 (mean, 1988–97)
      CSVM 95% CI
      Austria 0.14 (0.12 to 0.16)
      Belgium 0.13 (0.09 to 0.17)
      Denmark 0.12 (0.10 to 0.14)
      Finland 0.10 (0.07 to 0.13)
      France 0.13 (0.11 to 0.15)
      Germany 0.11 (0.09 to 0.13)
      Greece 0.18 (0.15 to 0.21)
      Ireland 0.21 (0.18 to 0.24)
      Italy 0.16 (0.14 to 0.18)
      Luxembourg 0.12 (0.08 to 0.16)
      Netherlands 0.11 (0.09 to 0.13)
      Portugal 0.28 (0.25 to 0.31)
      Spain 0.21 (0.19 to 0.23)
      UK 0.18 (0.16 to 0.20)
      Mean 0.16 (0.14 to 0.18)

  2. Tontons here!!! Get your Tontons here !!!

    Working on my Tonton salesmanship, dontcha know. 8^D

  3. All kidding aside, well reasoned article. Thank you, gentlemen.

    Professor Barnett; “We know that heat waves kill people in the short-term, but our study did not find any link between hotter summers and higher deaths,” he said.

    Did not find what we hoped to find. Got it.

    • Be fair. They did not find what they expected to find, but they published their results presumably unadjusted. That’s proper scientific method, and they should be appreciated for that.

  4. People can die of thirst, but they do not generally swelter to death.
    On the other hand, freezing to death is common enough that there are many phrases in common usage which refer to it.
    People who fall into the ocean in all but the warmest locations have between several minutes and a few hours to get help or they will die.
    People who fall into water as warm as the Gulf Stream and remain there for more than a few hours do not necessarily die, but are generally treated for exposure and hypothermia if they are lucky enough to survive.
    People stranded in cold conditions who have shelter but insufficient food are in such grave peril that many instances of cannibalism are recorded, in the recent past alone, and this among people who were completely normal, civil and well fed when their ordeal began.
    No such comparable episodes have occurred among the many people who have been stranded in hot places.
    Cold is well known to kill, and heat is not.
    So why did these researchers expect the opposite result than what was found?

    • It’s true.
      People who leave the UK for two weeks in Spain over the Summer Holidays should be expected to come home in coffins – if the climate panic were sound.
      But they do not.

      • A very close acquaintance of mine, who ironically likes the warm, has lived in Spain for some years. They want to return to the UK, but are unable to sell their Spanish home for the obvious reason.

        He’s a Guardian reader and so, not surprisingly, has been brainwashed into fearing a bit of pleasant, warm weather that global warming has given us.

        Two years ago I looked up the data, and, if I remember correctly, the Spanish climate is about 4 degrees C warmer than the UK. So, whenever they fly back to Spain, they are undergoing roughly 6 global warmings. And yet they seem to have survived.

        Also, when I visit their UK home at Christmas, they have the central heating turned up so much that it is physically unpleasant for me. The word “hypocrisy” does come to mind.

        Oh, yes, he has always driven a diesel car because he thought it was better for the environment….

        Eventually I hope to be able to debate global warming with him. But, probably like most warmists, the one thing he doesn’t want is debate. I wonder why?
        Chris

      • 500 dead out of nearly a billion? And it said most of these were homeless people. It may be many of them died of insufficient water, or were sick/in poor health.
        In severe cold, everyone caught outside without shelter dies.
        I am not so sure how much stock I place in the reporting that people’s proteins were being cooked like egg whites.
        Obviously, they were alluding to proteins becoming denatured, but the reference to “protein cells” makes me think this was not a medical report from a health care professional:
        “Medical experts said long exposure to extreme heat raises human body temperature to such levels that protein cells start to “boil like egg whites”, a case of internal combustion that eventually shuts down the brain”

        Internal combustion? Protein cells? “boil like egg whites”?

        This is drivel. Heatstroke is heatstroke.
        People who are in good health can run hundreds of miles through Death Valley if given sufficient moisture:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badwater_Ultramarathon

      • So let me see here – you say that if all appropriate precautionary measures are taken, such as lots of water, and complete access to shade, then the death rate would not be so high. I can say the exact same thing about cold weather deaths – if those people had proper winter clothing, and sufficient blankets, then the death rate would be far lower.

        I can’t speak for you, but I live in the real world. Comparing the mortality of the poor in India to ultra fit runners in Death Valley who are prepared for the heat conditions would be analogous to me saying that cold weather deaths could all be prevented if people prepared like back country skiers, who are out in below 0C conditions for days at a time.

  5. Maybe someone here on this blog can answer a question. The data supports that the anthropogenic co2 contribution to global warming is appx. 0.2% and that water vapor is the largest factor to any global warming as a greenhouse driver (vapor is not a gas). So, why isn’t water vapor ever mentioned in the science or media as a comparison and why isn’t anthro-co2 put in it’s place as a minor contributor, if at all, at appx. 0.2% of any AGW? …Which is almost nothing.

      • Bartosz…If my “fact” are wrong then take the time and have the courtesy to correct them and answer the question, if you can… I am new to this debate about global warming and am not a “scientist” like a lot of you on here seem to think you are. If you want converts to your side then be a bit more respectful to people asking questions like most good people of science would be happy to do.

        Thanks

    • In actual fact, it’s the carbon dioxide from coal fired power station which is THE problem.
      Carbon dioxide from motor vehicles and biofuels is quite OK.

      I am still sitting here at the beach with my litmus paper observing the oceans becoming less basic. I have been told that the science is settled, but my little bits of litmus paper have not been reading the headlines – they are not changing colour.

    • Because taxing water vapor emissions would be completely unjustifiable by any government!

      • Water vapour is taxed. The vapour rises, cools and falls as rain in to water catchment areas and is then pumped to houses, a fee charged to each household in the form of water rates (Certainly true for Sydney, Australia).Govn’ts are just trying to tax the air now.

      • Because taxing water vapor emissions would be completely unjustifiable by any government!

        Why do you worry about things being justifiable? They will do anything they like. They have demonized CO2 without any justification whatsoever, and they are well on their way to demonize H2O. Then they will probably go for pure Oxygene.

        Whatever suits the need for control.

    • Water vapour is a gas.
      It is mentioned in Science.
      It is acknowledged to be the most important greenhouse feedback.

      Oh, and the 0.2% is wrong as well.

    • Good question, Dahlquist. The IPCC leaves it out of their list of greenhouse gases, or drivers. There have been a couple of articles written here about it, but I don’t have links.

    • “vapor is not a gas”
      The definition of water vapor is the gaseous phase of the H2O molecule.
      Is this another “cold steam” question?

    • No big deal but water vapor is a gas. Simply, if a substance, like water, exist in the liquid form at room temperature (20-24 C and sea level atmospheric pressure) and evaporate above the liquid in the air phase, then it will be called a “vapor” instead of a gas. But it will behave as a gas. So we have benzene vapor, gasoline vapor, and many more liquid substances like such. CO2 does not exist as a liquid at this temperature but certainly can be compressed to such and to a solid.
      Yes water is mentioned but much more difficult to handle because while the CO2 concentration in air is fairly uniform (400 ppm or 0.04%) the concentration of water vapor varies from less than 0.2% to 4% depending upon the air temperature, location, etc. Maybe the media does not mention it very often because they assume that the public knows that water is the primary greenhouse gas. Or maybe they know it is not controllable by any government!

  6. I found this phrase very interesting…
    “The effect of days of extreme temperature was substantially less than that attributable to milder but non-optimum weather”
    I have always thought that it wasn’t the short sharp cold snap that would kill the most but the prolonged cooler weather where many who cannot afford to heat their homes suffer as they may not realise that they’re suffering the effects until it’s too late. Also in the UK the temp has to be below a certain level for a certain time before “vulnerable” people would get extra fuel payments.
    And if it gets too hot all you need to do is follow the advice given to me at college by one of my teachers.

    Why do you need a car door in the desert?
    So that if you get too hot you can wind down the window! .

    James Bull

  7. The likes of the Guardian would have us believe that the UK excess winter deaths are not caused by cold weather but by a lack of funding for the NHS.

    • Because of the entitlement thinking in the UK this is unquestionably true. The grand parents of today’s generation would simply build a fire. It was not illegal to do so back then.

    • No, you obviously don’t read the Guardian very carefully. The excess winter deaths are caused excessively cold winters that are caused by global warming.

      Please pay attention.

      Yesterday they produced a rave review for some film at Cannes, which ( according to them ) reiterates Al Gores “Convenient Untruth” BS about what ice cores show about the relationship of temperature and CO2.

      http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/may/23/ice-and-the-sky-review-powerful-cannes-2015-film

      Fortunately the film does not provide any “sop for deeenyerz” not any of that silly “balance” that would be expected elsewhere.

  8. We seem to behave as though current climate is at some sort of optimum level, any departure from which will lead to increased mortality. This is clearly nonsense as it is evident that building practices, behaviour, legislation, and and learned responses cope with regional differences – eg: traditionally white (heat reflecting) construction and siesta in mediterranean regions.

    It is also the case that a response to excess heat for most is an adequate supply of fluids, shade, ventilation – all quick, easy and cheap to provide. A response to excess cold requires additional clothing, energy, food – all relatively expensive and require contingency planning.

    The conclusions are therefore unsurprising – excess heat will be less troublesome with lower mortality than excess cold.

  9. The government agency charged with calculating the economy’s growth rate said it would adjust its methods in an effort to resolve the problem.

    Oh no, here we go again!! Don’t use what the data tells you, try to “correct” it to be what you expected it would be and ignore what it tells you.

    Why even waste money collecting and analysing data? These idiots already KNOW what the data should say, so billions of tax dollars could be saved by just getting the make the graph up in the first place.

    Same with climatology. Why do we waste billions funding research and launching satellites when all we need to do is pay Santer, Mann and Jones a nice little packet to make up the data, not make it available and draw us some graphs.

    The rest of the $14 billion could be spend of something useful.

    • Thank you Mike,

      We’ve spent about $2 TRILLION to date on global warming alarmism and green energy schemes that are not green and produce little useful energy – this is reportedly enough money to put adequate clean water and sanitation systems into every community on our planet, and run them forever,

      Since we have obsessed about the false global warming crisis, about 50 million kids below the age of 5 have died from contaminated water. Call me an old softie, but I am very concerned with this reality.

      Best, Allan

      • The watermelons think there are about 6.5 billion too many humans on this planet; those 50 million kids are just an installment payment on the sustainability plan.

  10. As far as I can see the study didn’t really attribute all the deaths to temperature difference.There are other factors that come with the shorter days. Here’s three for a start.

    * Shorter days mean more miles driven in the dark http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/05/AR2010050505689.html

    * People get more sedentary in shorter days, I suspect, and this will lead to the illnesses caused by lack of activity.

    * Seasonal Affective Disorder, while studies have show it does not affect the suicide rate as much as you would expect, people will be less likely to care for themselves properly and be more accident prone.

    Jumping to attribute the higher mortality found in this study in to temperature alone is unscientific without a proper attribution study.

    • Clovis, I suggest that your comments refer to factors that, in total, are insignificant.

      Excess Winter Mortality rates tend to INCREASE, not decrease, in warmer and more southerly European countries, The lowest Excess Winter Mortality rates are in cold Scandinavian countries.

      Regards, Allan

      • Hi Mr. MacRae, and thanks for the article.
        I did not know you would be here or I would have addressed my question last night to you directly.
        Re your comment here, that excess deaths are higher in countries other than the most northerly ones, my first supposition would be that this may be because people who live in places where it is severely cold on a more regular basis are not only more used to it and likely have better clothing, but they are also more aware of the danger, or take it more seriously.
        If we are discussing deaths due to exposure.
        Of course, it is well known that such things as influenza and pneumonia have a strong seasonal component, which is usually attributed to a combination of factors, with the primary ones being that people spend more time indoors in close proximity to each other, which facilitates transmission, and the fact that the air is generally dryer, which tends tends to increase susceptibility to transmission due to the effect on nasal passages and other mucous membranes.
        I suspect that another primary factor may be lack of vitamin D. It has been vastly underestimated how much vitamin D a person really needs, and the wide reaching health ramifications of being deficient are also greatly misunderstood and misunderestimated.(Basically, the dietary guidelines on minimum daily allowance of vitamin D were based on how much was needed to prevent rickets in a person. This amount was 400i.u. for a long time. By contrast, a person who has direct sun exposure in sufficient their skin for even a short time gets about 20,000 units or more.)
        Here in the US, I have seen statistics that indicate that longevity is greatest among people who live furthest south and west, which correspond directly with available sunshine in the winter months.

        It could be people in the more northerly countries have fairer skin and thus are able to absorb more vitamin D from the limited sun which they do get, or it may be that dietary choices supply a greater amount of this vital and poorly understood nutrient.

      • Addendum to the above: Must be corrections for poverty and other factors. What is likely a more correct way to state it is that, for a given person, getting more sun on a daily or near daily basis will increase overall longevity. For many people, this is most easily achieved by moving south and /or west.

      • Thank you Menicholas.

        Some studies attempt to separate the variables causing death, and may or may not do that competently.

        Our paper only addresses the seasonality of total mortality rates.

        I suspect that the greatest factor that causes northern countries to have lower Excess Winter Mortality Rates (typically about 10%) than warmer climes (20% to 30%) is better adaptation by the northerners to winter cold – better housing insulation and heating systems, and perhaps also lower unit energy costs.

        Natural Gas on NYMEX is US$2.84/MMBtu today, a fraction of the cost of gas in Europe – because fracking of gassy shales is widely employed in North America. The UK is finally allowing fracking of shales to proceed.

        I attended a talk by Benny Peiser of the GWPF that discussed “heat versus eat” – the dilemma of poor pensioners in the UK when there is not enough money to buy groceries AND heat their homes – they cannot afford both, so live in unheated homes all winter. I expect that this situation, exacerbated by the high cost of energy due to excessive reliance on wind power, contributes to the UK’s high Excess Winter Mortality Rate of almost 20%.

        Regards, Allan

    • Clovis Marcus May 25, 2015 at 3:00 am
      “As far as I can see the study didn’t really attribute all the deaths to temperature difference.”

      Funny you should say so, Clovis, because your WP link led to a story titled: Nighttime driving is biggest danger for teen drivers, study says, which makes no distinction between winter and summer driving. The story is about lack of experience/awareness among teen drivers with respect to the dangers of fatigue, alcohol, and distracted driving, especially at night.

      Your other two points are based on what you “suspect,” and assertion.

  11. Apparently alarmists believe the migration of the Snowbirds from Canada and the Northern US to Florida and other southern points and the fact that the Mexican and Caribbean resorts are busiest during winter are suicidal acts.

  12. Ever notice that you can easily get the supposed “average temperature” of the whole planet all over the internet, but a search on the average yearly temperature of a certain place is much harder. Is it on a need to know basis?

    Anyway, looks like the average temperature of New York is something around 50F while the average temperature of Hawaii is near 80F. And an average increase of 3 more degrees will destroy the earth?

    • I think if you can find out what temp of the groundwater is in a specific location, that will come close to the average yearly temp. Assuming a few things, like no significant geothermal sources, no rapid migration of groundwater from any great distance, and sufficient depth to smooth out the seasonal warming and cooling, but not so deep that you are measuring ancient temps.

  13. We used to have a saying in Sweden: “If you make it through February, you make it through another year.”
    Of course that was before central heating.

      • The line comes from a poem by T.S. Ellott, but i don’t think there’s necessarily any truth to the observation, nor much merit to the poem, which is long and obscure.

        By April, migratory birds are arriving because of available insects, and deer in many parts of the country are feasting on emerging buds and shoots.

        April is the cruelest month, breeding
        Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
        Memory and desire, stirring
        Dull roots with spring rain.
        Winter kept us warm, covering
        Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
        A little life with dried tubers.
        Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
        With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
        And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
        And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
        Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
        And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,
        My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
        And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
        Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
        In the mountains, there you feel free.
        I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

        from The Waste Land
        BY T. S. ELIOT

        http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/176735

  14. In today’s news of Swiss State Radio SRF, the current heat wave in india and its mortality rate was reported remarkably exhaustive and lengthy…

    But the same Swiss State Radio never ever reports about the much higher death toll of severe cold spells with comparable intensity …

    So – what ever could be the reason for this strange and lopsided coverage ??? … ;-)

    • Last winter, the NYT managed to use the word ‘blizzard’ only four times!

      YES it is very deliberate. Look up who owns our media and how they meet in secret every year.

  15. More importantly, poverty is what really kills, since it is financial resources that help protect us from the weather. And Gang Green policies are like a lead weight on economies world-wide, dragging living standards downwards. Additionally, so-called “green” energy is less reliable in addition to being more expensive. Many $billions have been wasted on a non-problem, which could actually have gone to helping those in need of help most. The lies which have been and continue to be spread by the Climate Liars have done untold damage to humanity.

  16. When we are talking about 1/100C a year 0.1C per decade and 1.1C per century, I think the AGW alarmists are stretching their argument way beyond its elastic limit to suggest that this would cause deaths. Even if AGW was true, all the gloom and doom scenarios are pure science fiction (and bad science fiction at that), straight out of Hollywood B movies and TV Miniseries.

  17. Winter is terrible. The price of heating a home has skyrocketed. I wish global warming was real. Obama said that under his policies the cost of “energy would necessarily skyrocket.” The man is a lunatic, who like politicians in general, is filthy rich, and has no connection to the mainstream public, whose savings are being destroyed, and who can’t afford even the necessities of life. At least, in hot weather, people can use air conditioning, which is mush cheaper than heat.

    • “At least, in hot weather, people can use air conditioning, which is mush cheaper than heat.”
      DEpends completely on where one lives, but in general and for a given number of degrees of cooling vs the same number of degrees of heating, I am fairly certain that heating is cheaper, if for no other reason than basic thermodynamics.
      For electric heating and cooling, nearly 100% of the electricity is converted to heat in the building.
      Cooling is much less efficient.

      • This is not my own experience. When I was newly out of school and in my first job, I lived in an all-electric apartment. My heat was electric, as well as my air conditioning, and I had my own meter. Back in the ’80’s, in the depth of winter it would cost me about $200 per month for electricity, while my summer bill peaked at about $80. YMMV.

  18. The most practical tool in dealing with climate change (warmer or cooler) is affordable (and available) electricity.

    .. Also the most practical tool for dealing with Third World poverty. That and clean water.

  19. Hell is cold according to Dante.

    Satan is waist deep in ice, weeping tears from his six eyes, and beating his six wings as if trying to escape, although the icy wind that emanates only further ensures his imprisonment

    This description of the Ninth Circle of Hell from Dante’s Inferno comes from Wikipedia.

    • Hello RobRoy – it’s been a while – we haven’t chatted since the Battle of Glenshiel – what a crap day that was!
      http://www.clan-macrae.org.uk/scotland/history.cfm?ID=94

      Having worked outdoors at minus 40 (degrees C or F, take your pick), I can attest that it WAS as cold as Hell.

      I’ve also been to Luxor in Upper Egypt in July, and it was very hot (~50C), but only as hot as Heck. We visited the antiquities in the very early morning, and returned to our hotel by noon to sit in the pool and drink quantities of a skunky Egyptian beer, misnamed Stella. One guy kept bellowing “”Stella!”, like Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire” every time he wanted a cold one. You had to be there…

      Regards, Allan

  20. Act of Parliament in 1811 led to the establishment of a charity which provided coal or other fuel to the poor.
    ===========
    How the times have changed. Now the world forces coal from the hands of Indians and African’s, to put it back in the ground.

  21. This is a better article explaining the numerous variables contributing to excess deaths in the cold/warm seasons:

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr076.pdf

    One factor difficult to evaluate is influenza. Some years the virus is more/less potent. Add vaccination rate and effectiveness.
    Also individuals on daily medicine for asthma. Nothing worse to precipitate an asthma attack in cold and windy temperature. You can also add more accidents due to ice and snow, etc. etc.
    Not so simple as cold induces death via hypothermia.
    Best place to see the effect of cold is a country like Canada (Graphic presentation in a post above).
    Heat waves also kill, but in a different way. The deaths occur in a much shorter period and Cable News will report them on the hour every hour.
    It will be interesting to look for statistical data from the North Eastern area of the USA for this past winter.

  22. Actually, if you go to the article, you will notice that on the right of the graphs (the hot side), the risk of mortality rises steeply, and only a few degrees over the “normal” for each region. Hence, raising the temp will increase mortality from heat without really changing the mortality from cold.

    • The right side of Fig 1. is the old side, not “the hot side.”

      Fig 2. does not plot, or reflect, temperature

      But we do now have a good idea why you misspelled Tralfamadore

      • Yes, Salo and theTralfamadorians made their first appearance in Vonnegut’s second novel The Sirens of Titan, and reappeared thereafter in other KV novels.

        Thanks for this excellent article Allan (& Joseph), the gist of which should be common sense.

    • I am referring to the Lancelet article.

      The left side of each of the graphs is the cold side, and the right side is the warm side. You see the left side trail out being at or only slightly above “normal” temp and then, typically at about -20 or -30C (relative to “normal”) steepen. On the warm side, the curve starts to steepen almost right away (over “normal”).

      Tralfamadore is a space creature that exists in all dimensions. I am trafamadore.

  23. Yes, it is more difficult to interpret the data in the USA because of the great temperature difference between regions and how individuals are “heat adapted” or not.
    Always the same. We see a “problem” and we want a single cause.

  24. Hot weather deaths on the St. Louis news mostly involve the elderly who are unable or unwilling to run air conditioners and have their windows nailed shut for security from my memories. There are also the cases where infants or children are left in cars by unfit parents (which there are many of in the ghettos). There is also the occasional kid at summer football practice who dies of an otherwise undiagnosed condition exacerbated by the heat and excess humidity which is so plentiful along the Mississippi river.

  25. the National Weather Service reports far more deaths from hot weather than cold which appears to be the source of Obama’s recent comments that heat kills. Our Government provides something for everyone.

    • They give number of deaths for hot and cold weather, but these deaths are for “Extreme Cold” and “Extreme Heat”. However they give no definition of what they consider “Extreme”.
      They also provide a summary of Natural Hazard Statistics report including Monthly Weather Related Fatalities. These are much higher in the summer months than in the winter months. However they give no information on how such is defined or collected.

  26. Entropy. Basic thermodynamics. The environment “wants” to pull us complex creatures to its equilibrium level, which is usually far below the temperature of the human body. Among other factors to be considered: radiation, wind chill and heat index (effect of humidity). All this should be elementary to atmospheric researchers and readily explicable for competent media.

  27. Statistics are skewed in the US due to such factors as poverty and immigration, but I think sun exposure needs to be looked at very carefully, and more specifically, vitamin D3 levels. Taking a pill does not give the same effect as getting some sun every day. Our bodies are adapted to being outside most every day.
    Studies looking at vitamin d supplementation are flawed due to the extremely small amounts given as compared to how much is made in a person’s skin from exposure to sun.

    • Living in a higher latitude, I take a D3/K2 capsule at 5,000 IU/1100 mcg once a week during the months of Nov. thru March. I have never been a fan of sunblock, nor of purposely baking in the sun. Moderation in all things.

  28. A couple of points regarding Christy’s record state high and low temperatures:

    • His numbers include temperatures that match past records. For example, Connecticut’s 1995 record high matches 1916, and South Dakota’s 2003 record high matches 1936. If the original dates of the extremes are used, the lack of new records is even more pronounced.

    • The 1994 record highs for Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico were all set at weather stations created between 1986 and 1991 in the hottest parts of their respective states. (Hmm. Did this influence the installation of a new station in Death Valley in hopes of beating the 1913 record?)

  29. Growing up in a cold climate area, Northern Iowa, I remember the sisters of my good friend’s dad commenting on living in Southern California vs Iowa…..”it’s just easier”…..in 1962. Good to see the smartest people in the room are catching up to 1960s midwest hayseeds.

  30. Yes Allan, but I have always wondered, why the 17th century, which was the centre of the Maunder minimum, was Holland’s “Golden Age” during which miserable weather did not prevent that country to be become wealthy, as Commerce and the Arts prospered and blossomed.
    (Simon Schama -” The Embarrassment of Riches”, 1988)

    • Hello Albert,

      At the risk of starting a religious war on these pages, I suggest that Holland’s Golden Age had much to do the Rule of Law and greater economic freedom that the Protestant Reformation brought to European societies.

      During the cold Maunder and Dalton Minimums of the Little Ice Age, there was huge loss of life in Europe – the populations of some Northern nations reportedly declined by up to ~25%. Nevertheless, these societies did advance.

      To try to “fight climate change”, they also burned tens of thousands of witches – almost equal to Al Gore’s carbon footprint. Plus ca change, plus ca change pas.

  31. I would really like, just for comparison, look at similar graphs for countries/states without cold winter.
    Is there stats like this available for Florida or for Bahamas and such?

    • Hi Udar – please see Figure 2, Table 1 and Table 2 from The Lancet study.

      This data supports the hypo that adaptation is the key to survival in winter – and perhaps flu shots when they work). Adaptation includes better home insulation and heating systems, and cheap reliable energy,

      The very high death rates attributed to cold weather occur in China, Italy, Japan and the UK.

      The next highest group includes Australia, South Korea, Spain, and the USA.

      Next come Canada, Sweden and Taiwan.

      Brazil and Taiwan Thailand have the lowest death rates.

      http://www.thelancet.com/action/showFullTextImages?pii=S0140-6736%2814%2962114-0

  32. The Yellowstone Plateau in winter is one of the coldest places in North America – mid-latitude, but high altitude and continental interior. Even in summer the nights can drop to hazardous temperature levels, and rain can aggravate the problems. If you go there to work or play please heed an advisory from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department that is also pertinent elsewhere:
    “Make camp while you still have a reserve of energy. Allow for the fact that exposure greatly reduces your normal endurance. You may think you are doing fine when the fact that you are exercising is the only thing preventing your going into hypothermia. If exhaustion forces you to stop, however briefly:
    Your rate of body heat production instantly drops by 50% or more. Violent, incapacitating shivering may begin immediately. You may slip into hypothermia in a matter of minutes.”

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