2012-03-13 12:52:22Global Warming - A Health Warning
Agnostic

mikepope_9@hotmail...
118.208.81.30

It seems to me that the effects of global warming on health have been somewhat overlooked, so I have written a short essay on the subject here.  I am still trying to improve the format of the fist table.

I have checked the medical side of things with my GP and it has passed his scrutiny – but I nevertheless request critique and comments from SkS authors and anyone else please.

2012-03-13 13:09:23
Doc Snow
Kevin McKinney
kdmsooboy@comcast...
76.17.37.231

Your link didn't work, agnostic, sorry to say.

2012-03-13 13:14:48
Agnostic

mikepope_9@hotmail...
118.208.81.30

Can't understand why.  It works OK for me.  Daniel Bailey .... Help!  please.

2012-03-13 16:09:28Add "www." to the link if needed...
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
93.231.172.174

Doc - you may need to manually add "www." to the URL when the "not found" page is displayed. There are basically two sites you can be logged-in to, one with and the other without "www." after "http://". Dependent on which it is and which link is shared, you are able to see the page (or not).

2012-03-13 21:25:41
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
86.184.204.224

Two alternate links - one will work, depemding how you are logged in :

http://skepticalscience.com/Health-Warning.html

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Health-Warning.html

 

Agnostic: it looks good so far.  I'll give it more thought when I log back in later. 

I'll see if I can find some relevant recent papers to cite, if you like.

2012-03-13 22:32:35
Kevin C

cowtan@ysbl.york.ac...
144.32.72.165

We can not live without oxygen (O2) but we can not live with ozone (O3)

Got yourself in a knot here I think...

2012-03-14 15:16:59
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.110.129

3rd paragraph of lost habitat: draught => drought

On the Russia bit it would be good to link to our post on Hansen et al. saying "it is nearly certain that [the Russia heat wave] would not have occurred in the absence of global warming."

Most sea level rise research estimates 1 meter, not 2, by 2100.

Some links would be helpful, like to where the info in your table comes from, and to the WHO 150,000 deaths figure.

2012-03-14 19:03:36
Same Ordinary Fool

chicagoriverturning@gmail...
71.35.29.177

"Loss of Human Habitat"  ['an ecological or environmental area'] seems to be an inappropriate heading, since it suggests that the area has become uninhabitable, and that the inhabitants have to leave..........A "Change of Human Habitat" would better describe the section.  People stay in place, and endure whatever happens..........Or are you looking further into the future (rising sea level, semi-permanent droughts) than I am?

Par3-Global Warming produces...  & Par 4     Noted in passing that you only mention large scale heat waves.  Wikipedia's "Heat Wave" listing includes mostly shorter duration events.  But it's not worth adding them..........Do expect to be challenged in the comments by deniers bearing cold weather death statistics.

Par6-Global warming is...     The Himalayas are a third exception to, "...the planet is likely to be largely ice free by 2100."

Par-Ditto     A suggestion, from my grade school geography class.  "...sea level rise of over 2 metres by 2100, inundating low lying coastal lands AND FERTILE RIVER DELTAS..."

Par10-In a few...     Wikipedias "Anopheles" listing includes a range map that shows that it is already present in many temperate countries

Par19-We can...     It took multiple readings before I understood your sentence, "We can not live WITHOUT.......,but we can not live WITH......."  Try italicizing the emphasized words, to help Keving C and myself.

2012-03-16 11:55:52
Agnostic

mikepope_9@hotmail...
118.208.91.99

Dana and SOF - Thanks for your contributions.  Grteatly appreciated.  I shall begin incorporating them ASAP

2012-03-16 18:14:27UCSU
Same Ordinary Fool

chicagoriverturning@gmail...
71.35.29.177

Googling "Climate Change and Your Health:  After the Storm:  The Hidden Health Risks of Flooding in a Warming World" leads to a 3/14/2012 Press Release from the Union of Concerned Scientists, with a link to the full report. 

"After the Storm:..." is the second report in the "Climate Change and Your Health" series.

2012-03-17 11:26:53
Agnostic

mikepope_9@hotmail...
118.208.117.246

Dana1981 - amended article to address all points raised.

SOF - amended article to address all points raised with the following exceptions:

"Loss of Human Habitat"  ['an ecological or environmental area'] seems to be an inappropriate heading, since it suggests that the area has become uninhabitable, and that the inhabitants have to leave..........A "Change of Human Habitat" would better describe the section.  People stay in place, and endure whatever happens..........Or are you looking further into the future (rising sea level, semi-permanent droughts) than I am? 

Response:  Looking at immediate-term, to 2100.  Article notes that areas will become uninhabitable, primarily due to inundation.

Par3-Global Warming produces...  & Par 4     Noted in passing that you only mention large scale heat waves.  Wikipedia's "Heat Wave" listing includes mostly shorter duration events.  But it's not worth adding them..........Do expect to be challenged in the comments by deniers bearing cold weather death statistics.

Response:  Yes – probably unavoidable.  What can one say other than that very cold weather experienced in European 2011/12 winter may be due to AGW related loss of Arctic sea ice or disruption of Arctic Oscilation?  I thought I saw an SkS article on the latter but have been unable to find it.

Got any advice on handling this please?

2012-03-17 11:40:54
Agnostic

mikepope_9@hotmail...
118.208.117.246

SOF 16 Mar 2012, 6:14 PM

Thanks for that - Never thought of googling the subject - quite a lot of good material there.  When I said that the subject had not been well covered, I meant by SkS.

2012-03-19 13:06:22Need help on the speculative parts, A & B & C, at the end. Please comment.
Same Ordinary Fool

chicagoriverturning@gmail...
71.35.28.177

Agnostic,   Sorry about the length, but I didn't have any responses until after I'd gone thru all the middle stuff.

Re:....................COLD WEATHER DEATHS....................It probably IS a good idea to address this issue of cold weather deaths directly.

Inserting 'cold weather deaths' into SkS's Search feature doesn't produce any useful blogposts, but does produce some related comments.

The only place I've encountered the cold weather death statistics is on a denier website, one of those mentioned in a comment at Fixed Argument #34.

And the most direct Google result [wiki.answers.com's "Does hot weather or cold weather cause more deaths"] includes references to various deniers:  CO2Science, Indur Goklany, and Fred Singer.  And, further googling tells me, Rob Lyons.  Be careful - this is a topic on which they can be truthful. 

THERE ARE THREE KINDS OF COLD WEATHER DEATH STATISTICS.....I, II & III

I.  THE DURATION (AND LIST OF CONSEQUENCES) IS TOO SHORT..........Reuters discusses Cutter and Borden's 2008 study in its article titled, "Death Map shows heat a big hazard to Americans.".........."Heat and drought caused 19.6% of total deaths from natural hazards with summer thunderstorms causing 18.8% and winter weather causing 18.1%..."

Comparing the summer thunderstorm result 18.8% and the lightning result 11.3% (livescience.com), we can conclude that they have a narrow interpretation of what are winter cold's consequences.  It is apparent that they do not include the deaths that occurred soon afterwards due to the aggravation of common illnesses.  We should include them.

According to the paper itself, their data comes ultimatelly from the NCDC's Storm Data that is collected from every county.  And this data seems to come from death certificates.

II.  THE ALL-WINTER DURATION IS TOO LONG..........Between 2000 and 2007, more Americans (7000/day) died during the period December thru March than during the rest of the year (6400/day)...........But there are other factors apart from those in which cold weather kills directly:    "A bigger cause of increased winter deaths in the US is death caused by influenza during the 'flu season' and pneumonia and other infectious diseases that are more common in the colder times of the year as people stay together in more concentrated groups and indoors.  In the US typically 36,000 people die of the flu each year in the flu season."

III.  COLD SPELLS..........The more general view is that of Keating and Donaldson (2004) from the University of Longon:  "Cold-related deaths are far more numerous than heat-related deaths in the United States, Europe, and almost all countries outside the tropics, and almost all of them are due to common illnesses that are increased by cold."

Which is in synch with :  "In Germany, heat waves were found to reduce [sic] overall mortality rates slightly, while cold spells led to a significant increase in deaths"..........   "the longer a cold spell lasts, the more pronounced the excess mortality - and the higher death rates seem to persist for weeks."

And I've seen these results elsewhere.  So, the deniers are right.  AGW'ers should not be challenging on their narrow assertions that there are more cold spell deaths than heat wave deaths.  That is true..........But we should be pointing out...

WHY COLD SPELL DEATHS VERSUS HEAT WAVE DEATHS IS NOT AN APPROPRIATE COMPARISON:  A, B,  & C 

.....A.....COLD SPELLS and heat waves are not strict opposites.  And therefore they should not be directly compared....................Deadly heat waves are also characterized by hot nights and sometimes high humidity.  And by the human Body's ability to tolerate these same conditions - if it has just a few hours of relief from them each day.  So heat wave deaths can be considered a public health failure.  [Part of the problem is the stubborness of the elderly who don't think that they themselves are at risk.  Presumably this applies equally to cold spell and heat wave situations.]

I saw mention that during the Russian heat wave there weren't enough warnings to drink lots of water, and not drink alcohol.  During the European (2003) heat wave the deaths were among the elderly left behind when their families took off during a long holiday.  In the US the vulnerable are ofter the poor and the elderly...

..........1.....I guess I'm leading up to the conjecture that it is easier to supply someone with just several hours of public air conditioning per day.  Rather than 10 hours sleep in a homeless shelter, or 24 hours...somewhere.  But the validity of this needs to be seconded by someone who knows the issue.

..........2.....Cold temperatures..........Exposure to high temperature (and maybe humidity) will kill slower than very cold temperatures.....It takes less to protect against a heat wave (drink lots of water, a fan for low humidity) than a cold spell (because people may not own adequate outerwear, or footwear, or bedding).

..........3.....Snow and ice..........In addition to the temperature extreme, cold spells add the  additional problem of the snow and ice.....Heavy snow may make it difficult or impossible  to reach people in trouble.....Increasing global warming will increase the the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, which will increase the snowfall.....Icy roads and sidewalks....Having to shovel snow, with its heart attack risk.

..........4.....Heat waves and droughts..........Those large scale heat waves that are associated with droughts will be less of a problem, because of the resulting low humidity.  Lots of drinking water makes you sweat, and the fan then keeps you cool.

..........5.....Houses and apartments..........There is one problem that is unique to heat waves (unlike cold spells), that the interior of a poorly ventilated house or apartment (without air conditioning) can be more extreme (hotter) than it is outside.....Am reminded of vehicle sleepiing experiences in extreme cold [with two sleeping bags and several blankets, the colder it got, as far as -15oF, the better I slept], and in extreme heat [being awakened by each bead of sweat that ran down my side, remedied with a small fan].

.....B.....COLD SPELLS are short term regional weather events....................For any denier arguing that there will be fewer mortalities from cold spells when the globe warms, there is the inherent assumption the the cold spell will be warmer,  But if it is only warmer by the average global temperature increase of .7oC [better, a temperate latitude average increase?? and since 1975?], that is not likely to make much of a difference, in a short term regional weather event.

Alternatively, an average climatolagical temperature change wouldn't necessarily make much of a dent in short term regional weather temperature, because of the latter's much highter variability.

If this is true, the denier's argument about a reduction in cold spell temperatures would only have significant consequence in the future, when the average global temperature change had increased several times over.

[In this uncertainty, it is the deniers who are assuming the less likely possibility, that the warming of the cold spell would be appreciably greater than .7oC]

[Meehl's 2009 study of changing US record lows versus record highs isn't relevant to events which may not be records, and which last multiple days.]

.....C.....COLD SPELLS which are partly caused by global warming.....................The cold and the record snowfall of recent winters has been linked to global warming.  Liu and Curry found "atmospheric circulation change linked to the reduction of sea ice" in the Arctic.

Obviously, these cold spells are in their own category.  Unlike ordinary cold spells that global warming might ameliorate, these may be said to have been partly caused by global warming.