Friday, January 9, 2015

German heart disease deaths from heatwaves to rise fivefold

Sophie Yeo in Responding to Climate Change: Five times as many people will die of heart disease in Germany by 2098 as climate change causes more intense heatwaves. This is the finding of a study which the German government has funded as part of their climate adaptation strategy.

The valleys of the Rhine, the Danube and some regions in the East will suffer the most. Specifically, the Upper Rhine valley will experience heatwaves of over 31C each day by the end of the century, the authors found. They say that research rarely investigates how climate change will impact cause specific deaths.

“Studies investigating the heat-mortality relationship are of major importance to design preventive measures, which are able to minimize the future heat wave risks,” said Stefan Zacharias from the German Meteorological Service, which conducted the research

The results are based on a moderate emissions scenario up to 2098. Coronary heart disease is responsible for around 17% of all deaths in Germany. Between 2001 and 2010, it killed an average of 403 people on every summer day where temperatures were normal. This increased by 15.2% during heatwaves, adding up to 331 excess deaths every year.

Climate models suggest that, by the end of the 21st century, heatwaves in Germany will be three times as frequent, 25% longer, and around 1C hotter....

Combined heat and power station in Hanover-Linden, Germany. View in westerly direction from an adjacent high-rise of the "Ihmezentrum" housing area. Shot by ChristianSchd Christian Schröder, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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