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Erratic temperatures causing more deaths than heatwaves: Study

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Sydney, May 19 (IANS) Deaths as a result of temperature variability accounted for 3.4 per cent of all deaths globally between 2000 and 2019, finds a study.

The study, published in journal The Lancet Planetary Health, revealed that unstable temperatures led to an average of 1.75 million deaths each year from 2000 to 2019.

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“Climate change is a major public health concern of the 21st century. Our findings show that temperature variability has similar impacts to air pollution on global mortality,” said Professor Yuming Guo, Director of the Monash Climate, Air Quality Research (CARE) Unit.

“With temperatures becoming increasingly unstable, proactive countermeasures are necessary to protect human health against temperature variability,” Yuming added.

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For the study, the team led by researchers explored the association between temperature variability and mortality in 750 locations across 43 countries or regions.

They found Asia, Australia, and New Zealand had a higher percentage excess in mortality than the global mean.

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Globally, the percentage excess in mortality increased by about 4.6 per cent per decade. The largest increase per decade occurred in Australia and New Zealand (7.3 per cent), followed by Europe (4.4 per cent), and Africa (3.3 per cent).

Increased risk of death is associated with short-term temperature variability, but until now, there’s been no comprehensive assessment of the temperature variability-related mortality burden worldwide.

Professor Yuming said more attention should be paid to the health impacts of temperature variability.

“Many policies have been developed to cope with the threat of climate-related extreme events, for example, warning systems for heatwaves and air pollution. However, these policies and strategies rarely exist to cope with the adverse health impacts of temperature variability.”

–IANS

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