“New figures from the Office of National Statistics today show that the number of excess winter deaths exceeded 50,000 the highest on record since the winter of 1975/76. Over 15,000 of these deaths will be relatable directly to a cold home. The vast majority will have multiple hospital and GP visits behind them. The figures also worryingly show a doubling in the number of male deaths under 65.
Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of NEA commented:
“Today’s excess winter death figures should be a huge shock to the system. The cost in human suffering and lost lives is a tragedy. The cost to the NHS is significant and largely avoidable.
Predictable, preventable and shameful. We seem to have accepted excess winter deaths to be as much a part of winter as darker evenings.
On top of these preventable deaths we know that many millions more people will have suffered the preventable health impacts of living in a cold and damp home, as well as resorting to harmful coping strategies.
New evidence provided by frontline workers to NEA, has revealed the top 10 unsafe fuel poverty coping strategies being used to survive winter. The regular use of older, dangerous or un-serviced heating appliances is common place, despite being potentially fatal or leading to heightened risks for nearby neighbours as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning or in extreme situations, fires and explosions. The charity says many more people are going to bed early to keep warm and using candles to save on electricity. People struggling to heat their homes are also spending their days in heated spaces such as libraries, cafes or even A&E to avoid the cold.”
Some previous blog posts on the same subject.
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 also reveal that deaths due to moderately hot or cold weather substantially exceed those resulting from extreme heat waves or cold spells.
Around 7.71% of all deaths were caused by non-optimal temperatures, with substantial differences between countries, ranging from around 3% in Thailand, Brazil, and Sweden to about 11% in China, Italy, and Japan. Cold was responsible for the majority of these deaths (7.29% of all deaths), while just 0.42% of all deaths were attributable to heat.
The study also found that extreme temperatures were responsible for less than 1% of all deaths, while mildly sub-optimal temperatures accounted for around 7% of all deaths — with most (6.66% of all deaths) related to moderate cold.
In a recent study a team of scientists led by Prof. Pierre Gosselin assessed 112,793 people aged 65 years and older who had been diagnosed with heart failure in Quebec between 2001 and 2011. Over an average of 635 days, the researchers measured the mean temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure and air pollutants in the surrounding environment and studied the data to see if there was any relationship.
Their results: for each decrease of 1°C in the daily mean temperature of the previous 3 and 7 days, the risk of heart failure events is increased of about 0.7%. In other words, a drop of 10°C in the average temperature over 7 days, which is common in the province of Quebec because of seasonal variations, is associated with increased risk to be hospitalized or to die for the main cause of heart failure of about 7% in elderly diagnosed with this disease.
Warming did it. Cooling did it.
“The Earth has known several mass extinctions over the course of its history. One of the most important happened at the Permian-Triassic boundary 250 million years ago. Over 95% of marine species disappeared and, up until now, scientists have linked this extinction to a significant rise in Earth temperatures. But researchers have now discovered that this extinction took place during a short ice age which preceded the global climate warming.”
The daily surface mass balance on the Greenland Ice Sheet is well above normal.