Heatwave deaths to rise steadily by 2080

A man uses a pump action water mist sprayer to cool down from the heatwave along a road in Karachi Pakistan

A man uses a pump action water mist sprayer to cool down from the heatwave along a road in Karachi Pakistan

Children wait to fill drinking water from a water tanker provided by the state-run Delhi Jal (water) Board on a hot summer day in New Delhi, India.

"This research, the largest epidemiological study on the projected impacts of heatwaves under global warming, suggests it could dramatically increase heatwave-related mortality, especially in highly-populated tropical and sub-tropical countries", said Gasparrini.

'Future heatwaves in particular will be more frequent, more intense and will last much longer, ' explained Monash Associate Professor Yuming Guo, the lead author of the study which was published today in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Australia could face a dramatic surge in heatwave-related deaths if governments don't do more to help communities adapt to climate change, a major worldwide study warns.

Guo's study looked into 20 countries on four continents, finding that the increase in mortality was likely to be highest near the equator.

A team of worldwide researchers based their findings on various scientific models, which predicted that under the most extreme scenarios there would be a 471 per cent rise in deaths as a result of heatwaves in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne between 2031 and 2080 compared with the four decades to 2010. Moldova and Japan would not see any increase.

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The results showed that if humans do not adapt, heat wave-related deaths are expected to increase the most in tropical and subtropical countries or regions, with European countries and the United States expected to have smaller percent increases in heat wave-related deaths.

During heatwaves, defined as at least two consecutive days of abnormally hot temperatures, the body can not dissipate heat, leaving older adults in particular at risk of suffering from medical conditions such as heat stroke.

It turned out that in the most pessimistic scenario - if the person does not adapt to climate change or will do to combat the situation to no effort, deaths from heat will increase by more than 770% in Colombia, Brazil and the Philippines.

They said their conclusions highlighted the need to take measures now to avert a future public health crisis.

Those measures could include opening cooling centers and painting rooftops white to reflect light and keep homes cool.

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