Slate: The First Undeniable Climate Change Deaths

Climate Economist At Work

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

When record breaking cold occurs it is just weather, but according to Slate, climate attribution, the science of retrofitting explanations to unusual weather events after they happened, can demonstrate that a single unusual heatwave is evidence of climate change.

The First Undeniable Climate Change Deaths

In 2018 in Japan, more than 1,000 people died during an unprecedented heat wave. In 2019, scientists proved it would have been impossible without global warming.

By DANIEL MERINO JULY 23, 20205:45 AM

uly 23, 2018, was a day unlike any seen before in Japan. It was the peak of a weekslong heat wave that smashed previous temperature records across the historically temperate nation. The heat started on July 9, on farms and in cities that only days earlier were fighting deadly rains, mudslides, and floods. As the waters receded, temperatures climbed. By July 15, 200 of the 927 weather stations in Japan recorded temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius, about 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or higher. Food and electricity prices hit multiyear highs as the power grid and water resources were pushed to their limits. Tens of thousands of people were hospitalized due to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. On Monday, July 23, the heat wave reached its zenith. The large Tokyo suburb of Kumagaya was the epicenter, and around 3 p.m., the Kumagaya Meteorological Observatory measured a temperature of 41.1 degrees Celsius, or 106 F. It was the hottest temperature ever recorded in Japan, but the record was more than a statistic. It was a tragedy: Over the course of those few weeks, more than a thousand people died from heat-related illnesses.

On July 24, the day after the peak of the heat wave, the Japan Meteorological Agency declared it a natural disaster. A disaster it was. But a natural one? Not so much.

In early 2019, researchers at the Japan Meteorological Agency started looking into the circumstances that had caused the unprecedented, deadly heat wave. They wanted to consider it through a relatively new lens—through the young branch of meteorology called attribution science, which allows researchers to directly measure the impact of climate change on individual extreme weather events. Attribution science, at its most basic, calculates how likely an extreme weather event is in today’s climate-changed world and compares that with how likely a similar event would be in a world without anthropogenic warming. Any difference between those two probabilities can be attributed to climate change.

Read more: https://slate.com/technology/2020/07/climate-change-deaths-japan-2018-heat-wave.html

The Slate article quotes Yukiko Imada of the Japan Meteorological Agency. The abstract of Yukiko Imada’s study;

The July 2018 High Temperature Event in Japan Could Not Have Happened without Human-Induced Global Warming

Yukiko ImadaMasahiro WatanabeHiroaki KawaseHideo ShiogamaMiki Arai

The high temperature event in July 2018 caused record-breaking human damage throughout Japan. Large-ensemble historical simulations with a high-resolution atmospheric general circulation model showed that the occurrence rate of this event under the condition of external forcings in July 2018 was approximately 20%. This high probability was a result of the high-pressure systems both in the upper and lower troposphere in July 2018. The event attribution approach based on the large-ensemble simulations with and without human-induced climate change indicated the following: (1) The event would never have happened without anthropogenic global warming. (2) The strength of the two-tiered high-pressure systems was also at an extreme level and at least doubled the level of event probability, which was independent of global warming. Moreover, a set of the large-ensemble dynamically downscaled outputs revealed that the mean annual occurrence of extremely hot days in Japan will be expected to increase by 1.8 times under a global warming level of 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Read more: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/sola/15A/0/15A_15A-002/_article/-char/ja/

Climate attribution science would be a little more believable if it could predict unusual events in advance, say give a year or two warning that Japan was about to suffer an extreme heatwave. Providing explanations of events which have already happened does not demonstrate skill.

71 thoughts on “Slate: The First Undeniable Climate Change Deaths

  1. Proof of global cooling: The hottest temperature ever recorded in my hometown in Idaho, 117 degs f, happened in 1962. I was 7 years old. The local folk were so shocked and frightened they said things like “Gosh, it sure is hot today!”

    • Catastrophic Cold vs Heat Waves
      Its remarkable that such warming “climate change” is even detectable. Contrast the severe cold during the Little Ice Age and earlier major cold periods.
      Finland lost ~1/3rd of its population from COLD during the Great Famine of 1695–1697.
      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): 775–787. doi:10.1175/1520-0477(1979)0602.0.CO;2. ISSN 1520-0477.

      In the years 1694 to early 1697, cold winters and cool and wet springs and autumns led to extreme famine in northern Europe, particularly in Finland, Estonia, and Livonia. It is estimated that in Finland about 25–33% of the population perished (Jutikkala, 1955; Muroma, 1972), and in Estonia-Livonia about 20% (Liiv, 1938).

      Earth has been cooling for ~ 12,000 years since the Holocene Optimum. Will we be able to generate enough global warming to avoid decent into the next glaciation?
      Glaciation would likely cause > 1,000,000,000 deaths, not just 1,000 from a local heat wave! Another 1 mile thick glacier through Chicago is likely to cause greater damage than the next Cat 5 hurricane.

    • Good point, Brian. If they are right in their attribution of the heat wave to global warming, then they have also falsified CO2 as the cause! Why would it cool down with CO2 still galloping upwards. Did it cool back to normal?

      Logically, attribution can’t be a single data point. It requires repetition at ever closer intervals. Record floods, snowfalls etc., assuming no significant climate change effect would occur going forward at ever increasing intervals in years. The number of records expected to be set, say, for 200years hence being Natural Log (Ln)’N’ (N=200), which is ~5, counting the first day as a record, so 4 new records should be set over the next 200yrs. Note, doubling to 400 yrs only adds one expected new record.

      Ln N arises from randomizing the order of the numbers 1,2,3….200 then counting the first in the random sequence as a record and the next higher number in the sequence as a new record and so on. Remarkably, long term snowfall, total precipitation, or flood records give a pretty good fit with Ln N, suggesting randomness is a fairly big factor in setting new clumate records. This, of course, doesn’t guarantee that the record will be nicely spaced. As you would expect, assessing new records with or without significant climate change takes a long time.

  2. “Large-ensemble historical simulations with a high-resolution atmospheric general circulation model” = garbage study.

    Next

  3. Actually, this was not the hottest day in Japan. 261 million years ago, temperatures on Honshu shot up to 43.68ºC. It was a Thursday. Just 220 million years later, temperatures plummeted to -42ºC, colder than today’s average temperature in the Antarctic. Small mammals froze to death in the countryside. This was a phenomenon known as CAGW Pre-figuring where the earth naturally anticipates the presence of SUVs and aircraft in the future. Or, to put it another way…

    …these ‘researchers’ are intellectual and moral midgets who are beneath our contempt.

    • I remember that day…it was the day all the amphibians went saggy at the knees and decided to form the IPCC!

  4. These people are morally indefensible! Using summer deaths, blaming global warming but conveniently ignoring excess winter deaths.

  5. I think the global warming religion has killed thousands of people.
    Fortunately, it seems people becoming more aware of silly it is.

  6. About 1.34 million people die in Japan each year, and you can attribute 1000 deaths to one day of heat? 106f isn’t even that hot – it’s routine in many parts of the world.

    • heavy rains prior=high humidity
      older population homes maybe not built for airflow?
      poor who didnt have fans at the least?
      lot of reasons butnot in any way proveable agw

    • Good point. 1.34 million deaths per year.
      That’s 25,700 ‘normal’ deaths per week.
      So if these 1,000 ‘heat related deaths occurred over three weeks (‘several’) they’d have constituted 1.3 % of the ‘normal’ number of 77,100 deaths in that time period.

    • What kills isn’t heat or cold. It’s heat or cold that is well above or below what is average for that area.

      Hitting the 100’s in New York City will kill. Hitting 120 in Tucson just causes people to stay indoors during the middle of the day.

      Getting down into the 50’s can be deadly for the urban outdoorsmen in Miami.
      Getting down into the 20’s just causes them to break out the winter gear in Montana.

      It all depends on what you are used to and prepared for.

  7. I suspect many of the deaths could have been avoided with a little knowledge. In Phoenix, summer temperatures commonly reach 116 and I have seen it as high as 120. The first rule is to drink water until you can’t drink any more then have another glass. In the heat an adult can go through 2-3 gallons a day. Fluids other than water don’t count so forget soft drinks and beer. Here you can walk into a bank and you will see bottled water free for the taking. Nobody refuses a request to supply water to somebody who wants it.

    If your air conditioner fails, there are still ways to control the temperature. Depending on the construction of your house, opening your windows at night might be the best way to keep cool. Other times, getting out of the house might be your best bet. Seek out a neighbor, friend, relative, hotel or shopping center with a working air conditioner. In the past before air conditioning, people would sleep on their lawns to stay cool at night. Most important, avoid the heat of the day as much as possible.

    Tricks like this are learned when you have that type of heat every summer. Unfortunately a few years back the French had a similar heat wave and many elderly people died because they didn’t know how to survive the heat as it was a very rare occurrence.

    • “Fluids other than water don’t count so forget soft drinks and beer. “

      Are you nuts??? They have H2O. “Forget beer” over my dead body. They can prey the empty beer vessel from my dead fingers before I believe that nonsense.

      And I don’t care if it’s a myth that Ben Franklin said, ““Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”

      He still said it at some point in his long life. Prove me wrong.

        • Seawater is 96.5%, so even better. Seriously though, it’s the alcohol which is problematic. Non-alcoholic beer would probably be fine, in a situation where hydration is critical.

        • If you drink a lot of beer in very hot weather you are going to piss 90% of it away. It has too much alcohol. The body can only digest 2-3 percent so the kidneys dilute the rest with the water in the beer and out it goes.

          Much better to drink plain water and/or electrolyte replacements in moderate quantities.

    • All windows open for air exchange, a fan in front of you.
      Closed windows let increase the rel. humidity to deadly hights.

    • Dena,

      You say: “The first rule is to drink water until you can’t drink any more then have another glass.”

      This is bad advice. You can get Hyponatremia. It is a potentially fatal condition caused by drinking too much water. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-hyponatremia#1

      Just drink a reasonable amount and you will keep well hydrated. Check for the signs of dehydration. Studies have shown that tea, coffee, beer and any other normal beverages will keep you hydrated just as well as pure water.

    • Especially in places that don’t routinely get blazing hot, newer homes have fewer and smaller windows.
      These windows are also not designed to promote the flow of air through the dwelling when opened.

    • Soft drinks are food and food requires water to digest therefore it can delay water reaching your system. Beer is a diuretic and will draw badly needed water from your system. Strangely enough there isn’t much of a risk of Hyponatremia at those temperatures because even drinking that much water, you don’t have the urge to pee for hours. When the evening meal roles around you might want a little extra salt on your meal but that’s it. Your clothes may get wet from sweat but that’s to be expected.

      I have been to large gatherings when the temperatures were over 100. The first aid carts would haul people off because they were drinking beer or gatorade but I never seen anybody hauled off for drinking excessive water in that type of heat. An occasional gatorade is fine and beer after you cool off isn’t a problem but lack of water can affect you within hours.

      As for closing the windows during the day, a concrete foundation and the internal wall of your house can soak up the heat for a few days. I lost my air conditioner for a couple of days a month ago and even with outside temperatures over 100, the peak day time temperatures in my house was about 85 degrees. Basements are rare around here but if you have one, that could be the best place to spend your day if you don’t have any other place to go.

      It’s important to use your head and find the coolest place to stay. Lacking that, you need to stay hydrated. If you fail to do that, death is likely. I have lived with this heat for almost 60 years and the only time I had a problem with it was one time when water wasn’t available to me. As soon as it was, I rehydrated and avoided a doctor visit.

  8. Wait a Tokyo second! So the millions of Japanese forcibly packed into subway cars by station staff pushing them in when dressed for winter cold can survive the temperature differential change inside, but daring to go out during a heat wave finished off 1,000 of otherwise healthy ones? I am suspicious there may be some underlying pre-existing medical conditions not being considered.

    • more like 3-5 million Chinese would die in an uncontrolled 3 Gorges Dam rupture. The real devastation though would be to China’s agricultural output that could threaten 10’s of millions with starvation. And the blow the CCP could likely mean it gets toppled and the country fractured.

      But a 3 Gorges Dam rupture is quite unlikely. At least for the next 30-50 years.

        • The wiggly dam Google Maps photo is just an artifact of the multiple image merge processing Google’s MAP satellite view AI tries to do. I’ve seen that wiggle artifact on long airport runways, which of course are arrow straight. The dam is fine. If it had moved to any appreciable extent, it would have ruptured. Concrete doesn’t flex like that without rupturing on the tension side.

      • One question now is why did they close a gate, which can be see in the live stream? They certainly have the ability to control flow at this point.

        • The more water they release down river the worse the flooding there. It’s a trade-off between what the dam can hold (and what Wx forecasts say is coming) versus flood control down river to Wuhan.

      • Even the Chicoms have admitted it has “Deformed Slightly”. Anyone with a little experience and common sense knows that when the communists make a claim like that it is highly likely they’re not being forthright. What was that Hillary said? It requires the “Suspension of disbelief”?

        As for the death toll. A million here and million there. No one really knows how many would die. A lot of it depends on the levels of the lakes and reservoirs downstream to determine how much of the flow they can take. But with Wuhan down stream the potential for multimillions to be killed is certainly there. But the Chinese communists wouldn’t miss a few million. People are an expendable natural resource in communist nations.

    • “If the Three Gorges Dam in China catastrophically collapses during this flooding will the million or so that could die from the flooding be classified as having died due to renewable energy?”

      No. The claim would be that Human-caused climate change was the cause because of all the rain.

  9. The claim – 1000 additional death due to heatwave in July.
    Normal July deaths about 100,000
    Normal January deaths about 130,000
    Any above average warm year in Japan will surely lead to overall less deaths.

    The same bs claim is happening in southern Australia.
    January and February 2009 ( summer of Black Saturday bushfires) are highlighted as having significant extra deaths due to heatwave. Yes February had higher than average deaths BUT the quantity of deaths was still lower than August 2009 ( winter).

  10. The core claim is embodied in this statement:
    “Through the young branch of meteorology called attribution science, which allows researchers to directly measure the impact of climate change on individual extreme weather events. Attribution science, at its most basic, calculates how likely an extreme weather event is in today’s climate-changed world and compares that with how likely a similar event would be in a world without anthropogenic warming. Any difference between those two probabilities can be attributed to climate change.”

    And how do you know what is “A world without anthropogenic warming”??? …. so it is circular logic at work. They assumed at the beginning (with a model) what they set out to “prove.”

    That is how charlatan-run junk science plies its trade.

    • Just so, Joel!
      I had the same reaction, when I read their ‘attribution’ statement. They ‘tested’ their untestable hypothesis using a ‘large ensemble’ of runs from an uncalibrated, uncertified model with no demonstrated predictive capability. Non-science, at its unverifiable worst!

  11. Argentinia suffers actually from a cold wave down to -37°C, the grids break down by snow and ice.
    Last week, they had 7m new snow as I linked here in an other thread.

    Can only be human induced CC, because nature isn’t bad at all, it’s friendly 😀

  12. I lived in Sendai north of Tokyo from 2010 to 2019. The Tanabata festival takes place in the beginning of July, and I remember the sweltering heat with temperatures from 32 to 35 cent degrees every year during the festival. But in July of 2018 it was unusually cold with temperatures ten degrees below normal. For the first time I saw people wearing cardigans during Tanabata.

    I am not disputing the heat wave in other prefectures, but the unusually cold weather in Miyagi prefecture should also be counted.

  13. 1000?
    Here in the UK we could do with a bit more warming.
    In the 2017 to 2018 winter period.
    There were 50,100 excess deaths in England and Wales when there was a prolonged spell of extreme cold, making it the highest number since 1976.

  14. The never seen before temperatures of the Japanese 2018 heatwave at 41.1C?
    It was 0.1C higher than the previous official record 41.0C in 2013.
    Which beat the 40.9C record of 2007.

    Of course climate change is definitely a factor (‘they’ say!) in Japanese heatwaves, but urbanization is too.
    I think it would be reasonable to say most of the recent records have been assisted by land use change and increasing waste heat from air con in a country like Japan – 91% of households had air conditioning in Japan by 2016 – the world’s leader. (e.g. Brazil had only 16%)

    https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/joc.3951

    And of course cold kills substantial numbers most years in Japan too.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/02/03/national/science-health/heatstroke-star-japan-hypothermia-deadlier-experts-say/

  15. ‘climate attribution’ = yet more Leftist revisionism to fit events to their preferred narrative. Honestly, this tactic is a real pandemic. They do it almost everywhere; in politics, ‘climate science’, SJW campaigns, the lot.

    Those people couldn’t do objective assessment of observations if their lives depended on it.

    • Call it what it is attribution statistics there is no science involved and it is not accepted by any actual science field. There is one pseudo science field that accepts it being climate science.

    • I don’t see any unprecedented heat there.

      See my Tmax chart of China, Japan’s next door neighbor, which shows there has been no unprecedented heat in the area as far back as the Early Twentieth Century.

  16. From the article: “The July 2018 High Temperature Event in Japan Could Not Have Happened without Human-Induced Global Warming”

    Except we don’t know if there *is* any “human-induced” warming to add to the calculation.

    I don’t know what the Tmax chart for Japan looks like but I do know what the Chinese Tmax chart looks like, and it’s right next door to Japan.

    Here’s the Chinese Tmax chart. Notice that it was just as warm in China in the Early Twentieth Century as it is today. There is nothing unpecedented about the weather today. And I’ll bet it is pretty much the same for Japan.

    China Tmax chart:

    https://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/Figure-12-1.png

    The only way you could claim there is human-induced warming is if you believe what the global Hockey Stick anomaly charts say. Unfortunately, the global temperature charts have been manipulated to make it appear as though the Earth’s weather is getting hotter and hotter and hotter and we are now at the hottest point in human history. It’s all a Big Lie.

    The Big Lie is refuted by things like the Tmax charts of the world which show the actual historic temperatures, and what they show is that the Earth is not experiencing unprecedented heat, it was just as warm in the recent past as it is today.

    The Big Lie Hockey Stick chart is the problem with the conclusions Slate and the Japanese scientists have reached. They are basing their conclusions on dishonest science fiction brought to us by the Climategate Charlatans and their Spawn.

  17. From the article: “They wanted to consider it [the unprecedented, deadly heat wave] through a relatively new lens—through the young branch of meteorology called attribution science, which allows researchers to directly measure the impact of climate change on individual extreme weather events.”

    I laughed out loud when I read this one.

    From the article: “Attribution science, at its most basic, calculates how likely an extreme weather event is in today’s climate-changed world”

    There is no evidence for a “[Human-caused] climate-changed world”.

    From the article: “and compares that with how likely a similar event would be in a world without anthropogenic warming.”

    As if they could know this, since they don’t even know the amount, if any, of anthropogenic warming.

    From the article: “Any difference between those two probabilities can be attributed to climate change.”

    No. You cannot reach a valid conclusion comparing guesses.

    All these people have are guesses about the climate. They don’t have one solid bit of evidence to prove what they claim. The bogus, bastardized Hockey Stick chart is not the evidence they think it is. It is instead evidence of scientific fraud and it’s causing the Japanese and Slate to reach erroneous conclusions.

  18. “1) The event would never have happened without anthropogenic global warming. ”

    How can someone spout such idiotic nonsense ?

    Weather has already been way warmer many times than nowdays be it with or without humans.

  19. Remember when they predicted “50 million climate refugees by 2010”, even though none to date had been found? They subsequently, and pathetically then attempted to move the goalposts out, in typical Alarmist fashion. Apparently, since that gambit never worked out, they’ve now latched onto “climate change deaths”, a phenomenon they simply constructed out of whole cloth. Presto bingo. No muss, no fuss. How convenient.

  20. This could be a human-induced event.
    The article references Kumagaya, a large Tokyo suburb, as the epicenter of these record temperatures. Unless there were corresponding records for adjacent rural areas, this event should be attributed to the Urban Heat Island effect. Urbanization rather than climate change may be the driver, but that doesn’t fit the “consensus” narrative.

    • I posted a paper that says urbanization is a factor above.

      What is interesting is that I read that once the built on land exceeds ~80% the UH effect increases much much more rapidly.

      And Japan has one of the highest levels of air conditioning installations in the world – which pump out massive quantities of waste heat into the urban setting – so you have a self-reinforcing cycle, the hotter the city gets – the more people use their aircon – the hotter the city gets.

      On top of that the Tmax records being claimed are by a 0.1C margin anyway. Of course they then resort to weather ‘bingo’ saying it was the most days above ‘x’, the most number of nights that didn’t fall below ‘y’…. etc.

  21. Technical Analysis is the ‘attribution science’ of the stock market. When I was in grad school I started following a technical analysis website with a forum. People would post their market analyses and talk about all sorts of momentous wiggles in the various graphs.

    I was fascinated by the idea that the herd mentality of investors would follow predictable pathways.

    However, after some time I began to think it was very good at explaining backwards in time, but not as good at predicting the future. At any one point, the current trend could be part of an upward or downward pattern.

  22. “[J]uly 23, 2018, was a day unlike any seen before in Japan.”

    And they know this how? They have records from the entire Holocene for Japan? How about previous interglacials? It always amazes me that so-called intelligent people can make such obviously bogus statements.

  23. Here’s a little hobby of mine: Every day, I google up the current temperature in Phoenix, Arizona. Swear to God, on at least half the days in the summer, it is hotter than 100 degrees F. 1,660,000 people live in Phoenix. That’s a lot of people living in hell when there are planes and trains and automobiles that can take them somewhere else. Do the citizens of Phoenix regularly die of the effects of heat? No? Odd.

    • As a resident of Phoenix proper, I’ll just mention a few things. First off the 1.7 million people is just Phoenix proper; the metro area is 4.7 million. We stay in AC for the most part. If you are outside during the hotter parts of the day, you are in the shade probably with a fan and/or water mister, or maybe in a pool. People who work outside generally schedule things before or after the hottest part of the day. You walk your dog after sunset so they don’t burn their paws. As people mentioned in earlier posts if working outside in the heat you drink a lot of water. If you’re inside you drink more but not a crazy amount more. The dry heat is not so bad, the heat + humidity is much worse in other areas of the country.

      • “Phx-Ahwatukee July 26, 2020 at 11:14 am

        The dry heat is not so bad, the heat + humidity is much worse in other areas of the country.”

        Agreed. Here in Sydney we get both. A 45c day with 15% humidity is hot but quite nice even for someone like me who is a fan of cold/winters. Then we get a 35c day with 95% humidity and all you want to do is stay indoors with the aircon on.

  24. Higher energy costs, as a result of co2 reduction policies, will contribute to excess winter and summer deaths.

  25. “Providing explanations of events which have already happened does not demonstrate skill.”

    Yeah, kinda like earthquake experts.

    Remarkably good at a) telling us the Big One is gonna hit “soon” and b) telling us how devastating the earthquake they didn’t predict was

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