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Temperature-Related Death and IllnessBased on present-day sensitivity to heat, an increase of thousands to tens of thousands of premature heat-related deaths in the summer and a decrease of premature cold-related deaths in the winter are projected each year as a result of climate change by the end of the century. Future adaptation will very likely reduce these impacts (see Changing Tolerance to Extreme Heat Finding). The reduction in cold-related deaths is projected to be smaller than the increase in heat-related deaths in most regions. Days that are hotter than usual in the summer or colder than usual in the winter are both associated with increased illness and death. Mortality effects are observed even for small differences from seasonal average temperatures. Because small temperature differences occur much more frequently than large temperature differences, not accounting for the effect of these small differences would lead to underestimating the future impact of climate change. An increase in population tolerance to extreme heat has been observed over time. Changes in this tolerance have been associated with increased use of air conditioning, improved social responses, and or physiological acclimatization, among other factors. Expected future increases in this tolerance will reduce the projected increase in deaths from heat. Older adults and children have a higher risk of dying or becoming ill due to extreme heat. People working outdoors, the socially isolated and economically disadvantaged, those with chronic illnesses, as well as some communities of color, are also especially vulnerable to death or illness.
Document ID
Document Type
Book Chapter
Sarofim, Marcus C.
(Environmental Protection Agency Washington, DC, United States)
Saha, Shubhayu
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA, United States)
Hawkins, Michelle D.
(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Silver Spring, MD, United States)
Mills, David M.
(Abt Associates, Inc. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Hess, Jeremy
(Washington Univ. Saint Louis, MO, United States)
Horton, Radley
(Columbia Univ. New York, NY, United States)
Kinney, Patrick
(Columbia Univ. New York, NY, United States)
Schwartz, Joel
(Harvard Univ. Cambridge, MA, United States)
St. Juliana, Alexis
(Abt Associates, Inc. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 15, 2016
Publication Date
April 4, 2016
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Meteorology And Climatology
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
temperature gradients
climate change
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