Human activity has already modified the climate. Currently, the global mean temperature is more than 1 ° C above the pre-industrial era due to climate change, although there are highly populated regions where it has risen by more than 2 ° C. Other areas have remained more stable. However, this increase in temperatures, together with a greater frequency and severity of heat waves, has consequences on the Human health.
To verify the impact that the climate crisis has on people, a new study published in the journal Nature Climage Change has estimated for the first time the real contribution of climate change caused by man in the increased risks of mortality because of the heat.
The research team used data from the last three decades of 732 towns in 43 countries, including Spain, where all provincial capitals were analyzed.
“We compare the difference in mortality with and without observed global warming,” he tells SINC. Dominic Royé, one of the authors of the work and researcher at the University of Santiago de Compostela.
Thanks to climate change detection and attribution models, the results reveal that a total of 37% of heat-related human deaths in the world can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change. According to the scientists, these findings show the urgent need for more ambitious mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce the impacts of climate change on public health.
The team, led by the University of Bern in Switzerland, used data from the last three decades (1991-2018) from 732 localities in 43 countries, including Spain, where all provincial capitals were analyzed.
The authors thus found that the increase in mortality due to climate change since the pre-industrial period is detectable on all inhabited continents. However, the percentage of deaths caused by climate change is higher in the warmer countries of southern Europe and southern and western Asia.
“There is unequivocal evidence that global warming causes an increase in mortality throughout the world. The effects of heat on mortality vary geographically, but are in the order of tens to hundreds of deaths per year in many places ”, warns SINC Royé.
Spain, one of the most affected countries in southern Europe
“Spain is one of the southern European countries where the most warming has been observed. In relative terms, our country is in the average with 30% of heat-related deaths that are due to human-induced climate change ”, Royé emphasizes.
The number of deaths from heat related to climate change is 704 per year in the provincial capitals of Spain. In Barcelona there are 94 and in Madrid 177 per year
In addition, by analyzing the impact of heat during summer Regarding climate change, scientists found that it was also higher in Mediterranean countries, such as Spain, Italy and Greece.
“With or without global warming, Spain is characterized by a high fraction of deaths attributable to heat. The number of deaths from this cause related to climate change is 704 per year in the provincial capitals of Spain. In Barcelona there are 94 and in Madrid 177 per year. In Galicia there are 16 every year ”, emphasizes the researcher.
Spain suffers per se a great impact from the heat “which is considerably aggravated by climate change,” says Royé, given the results of this study. For this reason, scientists believe that important mitigation and adaptation measures should be taken, especially in areas cities.
“Due to its unique characteristics as regards inequalities, the effect of the heat island, a urban restructuring and to rethink them in a more bioclimatic sense in order to reduce the effects of high temperatures ”, the expert concludes to SINC.
M. Vicedo-Cabrera et al. “The burden of heat-related mortality attributable to recent human-induced climate change” Nature Climate Change
Rights: Creative Commons.