Cold Weather Kills More People than Hot Weather

Skeptics say that there are more cold-related deaths than those who die of heat-related causes. This is supposed to mean that a hotter climate is preferable to a colder one.

Regardless of whether an individual prefers warmer weather rather than cold, there is a limit as to how warm it could get without affecting us adversely. More important than physical warmth for the individual is the total effect that warmer weather will bring throughout the earth. Skeptics don’t acknowledge the impact on people from droughts and floods.

Heat-induced droughts have destroyed crops killing over a million people in Africa in the past 30 years. Direct heat deaths also killed anywhere from 15,000 to 70,000 in Europe in 2003. While some may quibble over the exact cause of the heat or drought; saying that it was not global warming but ‘natural’ causes, the point is that ever increasing temperatures due to our Carbon Dioxide emissions will give us more of these droughts and floods, as well as direct heat related-deaths.

Below, is a chart from the National Weather Service showing the numbers of weather-related deaths in the United States (Being in the U.S. it does not include the deaths in Europe during 2003). The 10 year average, from 2006-2015 (blue bar), shows winter and cold deaths averaging 59 deaths. Direct heat deaths were 113.

Figure 1: The U.S. Natural Hazard Statistics weather related fatalities, courtesy of National Weather Service.

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