Warming Improves Our Health – part 1

What’s Natural

Guest post by Jim Steele,

It’s deeply disturbing to hear people uncritically regurgitate media misinformation suggesting global warming threatens our health far worse than the COVID pandemic. Scientific evidence unequivocally shows colder weather is the major killer. As Figure 1 illustrates, the percentage of all deaths attributed to weather and temperature increases during the cold months. In contrast mortalities rates fall during warmer months. Researchers examining 74 million deaths across the globe from 1985-2012 found 7.3% were caused by temperatures cooler than the optimum compared to just 0.4% attributed to temperatures above the optimum. Extreme temperature events, both hot and cold only accounted for 0.9% of all deaths.

Likewise, a 2014 National Health Statistics reports found, “During 2006–2010, about 2,000 U.S. residents died each year from weather-related deaths. About 31% of these deaths were attributed to exposure to excessive natural heat, heat stroke, sun stroke; 63% were attributed to exposure to excessive natural cold, hypothermia, or both.” Similarly, according to the CDC , from 1979-1999, a total of 8015 deaths in the United States were heat related while 13,970 deaths were attributed to hypothermia. So why aren’t people listening to the science?

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Global warming fear is based on speculation regards what could happen in the future if global average temperatures rose 2°F to 4°F. But scary predictions are not scientific fact until their hypotheses are tested and verified. Without time machines we cannot directly test predicted outcomes for the years 2050 or 2100. But we can observe the effects of a similar temperature change.

In the United States people have steadily migrated away from the cold Northeast to the warmer Southwest. In the Southwest they are exposed to higher average temperatures, temperatures equal to or greater than what global warming predicts they would endure if they remained in the Northeast. The good news, scientists determined that “migration from the Northeast to the Southwest accounts for 4% to 7% of the total gains in life expectancy experienced by the U.S. population over the past thirty years.” We can infer a similar benefit from global warming. A complementary study determined people that migrated to colder climates suffered ‘greater cardiovascular mortality” than people who remained in their native country.

Because the two major U.S. government agencies that track heat and cold deaths – NOAA and the CDC – differ sharply on which is the bigger killer, the public is rightfully confused. In contrast to the CDC results, NOAA argues heat is killing twice as many people as cold, but NOAA’s researchers have also been heavily invested in catastrophic global warming claims. By statistically adjusting the data via “seasonal detrending”, they remove the greater number of winter deaths in their analyses and just focus on extreme temperature deaths. They justify their adjustments arguing factors such as increased winter deaths due to flu season are not directly due to colder temperatures. But that obscures the health effects of temperature.

Colder temperatures reduce the effectiveness of our immune systems, which promotes influenza epidemics that may kill 34,000 to 60,000 people in a year. Because influenza season ends when temperatures warm, scientists are hoping warmer weather will similarly curtail the novel COVID-19 pandemic.

NOAA’s adjusted data focuses on deaths from heat waves and cold snaps. Indeed, there are is a greater spike in deaths during heat waves, but research suggests heat waves have a small long‑term effect due to a “harvesting effect”. Us elderly and health compromised people are most vulnerable to extreme weather and epidemics. The “harvesting effect” describes an event during which vulnerable people who would have likely died over the following months instead died “prematurely” during an extreme event. But mortality rates drop in the following months because the most vulnerable have already passed. Researchers have found because mortality rates fall during the months following a heat wave there is no long­‑term population effect. In contrast, cold snaps do have long-term effects as researchers found no such “harvesting effect”.

Although alarming models and media narratives suggest global warming causes more extreme heat waves, scientific data disagrees. As the EPA’s heat wave index illustrates (below), there has been no increase in heat waves as the worse heat waves happened during the 1930s.

Fortunately, heat waves are short‑lived and foreseeable. Weather forecasters detect approaching high-pressure systems that bring cloudless skies that increase solar heating. High pressure systems inhibit rising air currents that normally carry heat away. And high‑pressure systems draw warm tropical air poleward on one flank while blocking cooler air from moving south. By forecasting extreme heat waves, scientists believe we can prevent most heat wave deaths. Urban heat effects are 2°F to 10°F warmer than the countryside, thus urban dwellers should be most careful. And because elderly people who lack air conditioning are most vulnerable and less mobile, we can make sure they are moved out of harm’s way.

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Jim Steele is Director emeritus of San Francisco State’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus and authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

37 thoughts on “Warming Improves Our Health – part 1

  1. The media will continue to ignore statistics that show cold weather not warm is more detrimental to health, just as they will ignore the history of influenza such as the 2009 H1N1 [Swine Flu] pandemic when 61 Million Americans fell ill and 12,469 died from it. Why? Because mass hysteria benefits their political agenda.

  2. I submit that the greatest improvement in human lives is the growing ability to circumvent the problems Mother Nature throws at us. That ability, in turn, is largely due to fossil fuels. There are places on the planet which are more-or-less uninhabitably hot except for our ability to avoid the worst of that heat. example

  3. If you are one of those souls that entertain warm and fuzzy notions of Mother Nature you would do well to remember that Mother Nature is a bitch and she has been trying to kill you since the day you were born. We defend ourselves from Mother Nature by using energy, concrete and steel – all of which produce prodigious amounts of CO2.
    We defend ourselves from mother nature by using fire (the only species on the planet that does so) and we have been doing it for so long and so successfully that we have lost our fur (our ancestors wore animal skins to keep warm) – we can no longer exist without fire – which generates CO2 – the very thing the alarmists want us to give up !
    We use our intelligence and resources to prolong our lives and quality of life.
    We can endeavour to live harmoniously with nature but we cannot let nature prevail that will kill us!

  4. The world especially the mass media will have to take a hard look on how they treat potential pandemics in the future. The indirect damage both short term and long term from the current COVID will be much higher than the direct damage. The mass media that are not subsidized by the tax payers money will be one of the sectors hit the hardest. Poverty kills, famine kills, malnutrition kills, lack of basic health services and facilities kills.
    More disturbing is the reaction of the international and national leaders. Considering the potential numbers of anti-social fanatics and fanatical causes in the world today, the current handling of the potential pandemics leaves the global economy and well being open for manipulation by few disgruntled fanatics. The world has to take more measured and rationale approach. Leadership does not have to be popular today. Leaders have to take a vision of history and the long term impacts of their current decisions. The world is at a major turning point.

  5. “Warming Improves Our Health”

    “Global warming”, “global warming”, “global warming”…

    How is talking solely abut the USA not cherry-picking? Discuss the USA by all means but don’t try and imply there is anything “global” in this post.

    Why not contrast the information for a few tropical countries. How is extra warming working out for their health?

    • Tropical countries don’t warm up by that much. You spend a lot of time here so you should be aware of the fact that dry cold air heats up with a fraction of the energy needed compared to moist tropical air.

      For example(made the numbers up) 0.1C warming in Panama or any other tropical country would the same as 1.0C warming in lets say Canada.

      Conclusion: places that are already at optimal temperature won’t warm that much and places that are to cold at the moment would warm up more and boost its countries health overall.

      I am pretty sure you knew about this.

      • That’s the whole point – there’s less temperature swing in the tropics – because of the concentration of greenhouse gases, which is a moderator, keeping it from getting too hot or too cold.

        • Was a reply to Loydo or am I mistaking you? I agree with the author and disagree with Loydo who dumps a comment and always leaves.

    • Loydo , you have been visiting this site long enough to know that people have quoted papers looking at past and projected excess mortality due to both positive and negative deviations of temperature from the ambient in nearly all parts of the world .
      The 2 most quoted were published by Lancet and Lancet-Public Health in 2015 and 2017 respectively by a world wide team of reporters led by A Gasparini.
      The 2015 paper dealt with the effect on excess mortality due to cold or hot deviations from the ambient
      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673614621140
      Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study
      -“Findings
      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.
      Interpretation
      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 minimise the health consequences of adverse temperatures, and for predictions of future effect in climate-change scenarios. “-

      The follow up 2017 paper considered projected effets on excess mortality up to 2099 under differenr scenarios , including the extreme RCP8.5
      https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(17)30156-0/fulltext
      Projections of temperature-related excess mortality under climate change scenarios
      -“Findings
      Our dataset comprised 451 locations in 23 countries across nine regions of the world, including 85 879 895 deaths. Results indicate, on average, a net increase in temperature-related excess mortality under high-emission scenarios, although with important geographical differences. In temperate areas such as northern Europe, east Asia, and Australia, the less intense warming and large decrease in cold-related excess would induce a null or marginally negative net effect, with the net change in 2090–99 compared with 2010–19 ranging from −1·2% (empirical 95% CI −3·6 to 1·4) in Australia to −0·1% (−2·1 to 1·6) in east Asia under the highest emission scenario, although the decreasing trends would reverse during the course of the century. Conversely, warmer regions, such as the central and southern parts of America or Europe, and especially southeast Asia, would experience a sharp surge in heat-related impacts and extremely large net increases, with the net change at the end of the century ranging from 3·0% (−3·0 to 9·3) in Central America to 12·7% (−4·7 to 28·1) in southeast Asia under the highest emission scenario. Most of the health effects directly due to temperature increase could be avoided under scenarios involving mitigation strategies to limit emissions and further warming of the planet.
      Interpretation
      This study shows the negative health impacts of climate change that, under high-emission scenarios, would disproportionately affect warmer and poorer regions of the world. Comparison with lower emission scenarios emphasises the importance of mitigation policies for limiting global warming and reducing the associated health risks.”-

      The figures shown in the 2017 paper indicate that , whilst acknowledging the increase in excess mortality due to global warming and calling for mitigation and emission control, nevertheless under most scenarios except the most extreme warming the benefits of warming outbalance the risks for all but the equatorial nations.
      However I am sure that you are aware of these papers so I am a bit puzzled by your “cherry-picking” objection to the post by Jim Steele.

      • “This study shows the negative health impacts of climate change that, under high-emission scenarios, would disproportionately affect warmer and poorer regions of the world.”

        The author limits his discussion to the US where extreme cold is the norm. It is not contraversial to suggest milder winters will result in fewer deaths in the US. It is by no means as clear cut on global terms and there are plenty of regions and countries where warming will and is already adversly affecting health. There are also reasons to suspect a rapidly changing climate will cause other adverse disruptions too – weather and rainfall patterns for starters.

        • “there are plenty of regions and countries where warming will and is already adversly affecting health.”

          Name one. Show evidence.

          • I would also love to know what regions or countries where warming is already affecting health.

            I’d like to take a look at their past 36 month cooling degree-day monthly totals to see if their air conditioning loads have increased at all.

        • I guess loydo doesn’t actually know the location of any of those regions or countries where warming will and already is adversely affecting health.

          Could it be that there aren’t any?

    • Lloydo: Please try to learn something by understanding fundamental science. You always throw out a strawman, which is fake and then slay that strawman.

      It takes around two orders of magnitude more energy to raise the temperature of air with moisture in it. It’s based on the latent heat of vaporization. Dry air has very little heat capacity so it easily swings in temperature. The tropical temperatures vary by weather changes such as ocean oscillations or storms passing through. The addition of CO2 to the greenhouse effect has about zero affect on the temperature in the tropics. So your point is moot. No dragon to slay.

  6. One thing that struck me from the writing above
    “High pressure systems inhibit rising air currents that normally carry heat away”

    Surely thermals, afternoon onshore sea breezes and other aspects of heating due to sunshine on land, will be working and doing their stuff?

    • Steve, Of course surface heating will still occur and with less clouds the surface heats more rapidly. However as air rises it cools due to changes in pressure. For any heated surface air to continue rising, it must be warmer than its surroundings. However a high pressure dome creates a thermal inversion of a warm layer of air that prevents further upward convection.

  7. People who develop coronovirus almost asymptomatic have plasma antibodies. This can be used as a temporary vaccine. Wuhan shows that you can not get infected a second time. So plasma with antibodies can be effective.

  8. For most people Coronavirus is like the flu or even a cold, but for 20% it’s something awful. Even in younger patients — a few seemingly fit and healthy 40 and 50 year olds are gasping for air as their lungs fill with blood and fluid and it’s “like a near death drowning” or “inhaling caustic gas”. Forgive the language in the headline — those were this docs exact words. He’s working at a New Orleans hospital and his whole attitude to the virus has changed dramatically.
    http://joannenova.com.au/2020/03/doc-talks-about-his-holy-s-moment-horrible-lung-failure-even-in-young-patients/#comment-2296481

    • “seemingly fit and healthy 40 and 50 year olds”

      Do they have hypertension and take ACE inhibitors that increase ACE2 expression in the lungs, possibly making for nastier infections? Anthony Fauci of the NIH thinks that possibility needs to examined, and fast. Start @ 10:22.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXY76TKNy2Y

      Do they vape? Vaping illness (EVALI) has the same symptoms, morbidity and mortality as this illness and appeared for the first time just a few months before this illness.

      https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/investigations/2019/09/19/vaping-illness-deaths-symptoms-what-we-know-lung-injury-outbreak-ecigarettes-juul-thc/2365322001/

      Are they immigrants from countries with endemic TB? TB has the same symptoms as this illness and can’t be diagnosed without a TB test.

      We really can’t determine anything until we have these data.

      • So now it’s known that at least 52% of the deceased in Italy used ACE2 up-regulating drugs. It could be more due to incomplete data.

        Before hospitalization, 36% of COVID-19 positive deceased patients followed ACE-inhibitor therapy and 16% angiotensin receptor blockers-ARBs therapy. This information can be underestimated because data on drug treatment before admission were not always described in the chart.

        Characteristics of COVID- 19 patients dying in Italy Report based on available data on March 20th, 2020
        https://www.epicentro.iss.it/coronavirus/bollettino/Report-COVID-2019_20_marzo_eng.pdf (pdf)

        • If your ACE drug was prescribed for heart failure, you better not stop taking it. Heart failure is a serious pre-existing condition, and life expectencies are increased by ACE drugs. Whether it is induction of ACE II receptors or the fact that their use is highly correlated with heart failure that causes the results from Italy is not yet known.

          If the ACE drug was prescribed for high blood pressure, you are also at high risk if you stop taking it without making other arrangements. There are good pharmacological reasons why life expectancy has increased in the developed world.

          • Calcium channel blockers work and apparently don’t have the same issue. Switching seems like a prudent course of action to minimize potential risk, if doctor approves.

    • Ren: for me Covid 19 was not worse than other times when I in fact did get to the point of being diagnosed with walking pneumonia. It was weird though. A very targeted lung malady for me. Started and ended in lungs. Little phlegm vs when I had pneumonia. The rumbling in my lungs was from swollen lung tissue that rumbled worse when I laid down! 5 days of fever, aches pains and lung hell. Then it subsided almost as quickly as it started.

      Zero sinus and throat issues this time, which is a first in my 55 years on planet earth!

      My recommendation: Zn (Ca/Mg) 3xday 9to get around 100% Zn from supplementation, D3 (50 mcg) 3xday, C (1gm) 3xday, Quercetin or nutrients with high levels of that, water to be hydrated, lots of juiced veggie powders to fill gaps in ionophores.

      I also take CoQ10 300mg/day and Astaxanthin, fish oil, and other stuff.

  9. Is there evidence to show that transmission rates for Coronavirus are higher in colder conditions?

  10. Findings from the Wang et al study published on JAMA and based on 138 hospitalized patients
    Common symptoms included:
    (Wang et al study)
    Fever
    98.6%
    Fatigue
    69.6%
    Dry cough
    59.4%
    The median time observed:

    from first symptom to → Dyspnea (Shortness of breath) = 5.0 days
    from first symptom to → Hospital admission = 7.0 days
    from first symptom to → ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) = 8.0 days (when occurring)
    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-symptoms/#examples

  11. Warming Improves Our Health

    This has been one of the most obvious points that climate-kooks seem oblivious to. Particularly since even the warmist “scientists” says the coldest regions warm the most, and tropical regions not nearly as much — which is exactly what’s happening recently. And regarding the current situation, virus illnesses tail-off dramatically during the warm season.

  12. Realize that the near worldwide economic disruption we are presently running is the PERFECT experiment to actually see what would happen if we implemented the Green New Deal.

    I hope you weather-guys are carefully tracking the present CO2 reduction and whether (or not) it’s having any measurable effect whatsoever on temps. in the atmosphere or on the ground. This may be the best chance we have in modern times to totally debunk the idea that our transportation/industrial activity is the dominant cause of the warming we’ve enjoyed since the end of the Little Ice Age.

    We have the potential here for data to send the Endangerment Clause to the dumpster–all hands on deck!!

  13. Ice age glaciations are far more scary than a bit of global warming. Get the Earth back to 21 degrees C as normal.

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