Monday, August 10, 2020

Climate Heat Inequality

By the end of this century, due to climate heating, 75% of the world will have a higher mortality risk from extreme heat. That increased mortality rate will be far higher in the world's poorest regions, where investment in protective infrastructure and care for the vulnerable will not be able to cope with the increased risk of mortality from extreme temperatures.

In Life and Death in Our Hot Future Will Be Shaped by Today’s Income Inequality Bloomberg reports on a new study by Climate Impact Lab which suggests that global heating will result in far higher mortality rates from extreme heat than was previously thought. The study also finds that the world's poorest regions will experience the highest mortality rates from extreme heat.

Bloomberg's article includes an interactive map which shows the estimated change in death rates from extreme heat over the 21st Century. The map reveals that rising global temperatures will result in higher mortality rates. However the highest mortality rates will be in those countries and regions with the lowest incomes. To show the impact of inequality on heat mortality Bloomberg compares regions with similar future climates but very large economic differences. For example, by the end of this century Tehran is expected to have 119 more deaths per 100,000 from extreme heat, while Washington DC (with a similar climate) is expected to have just 32 more deaths per 100,000.

The Bloomberg interactive map shows the predicted increase in mortality rates from extreme heat, not how much extreme heat countries will experience due to global heating. The University of Hawaii has released an interactive map which uses expected temperature increases to predict the number of deadly days we can expect from extreme heat around the world for each year up to 2100. Heatwaves: Number of deadly heat days provides a timeline control which allows you to select any year from 1950-2100. The blue dots on the map show historic extreme heat events that have occurred around the world before 2014.

If you click on the map you can view two charts for the selected location. One chart visualizes the number of annual deadly days over time and the other shows the humidity vs. temperature for the current year.

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