As nighttime temperatures rise due to climate change, your risk of dying from extreme heat that disrupts normal sleep patterns also increases by nearly six times, a new global study has warned.
According to researchers from China, South Korea, Japan, Germany and the United States, extreme hot nights caused by climate change are predicted to increase the global death rate by up to 60 percent by the end of the century.
A study published in The Lancet Planetary Health found that ambient temperature during the night can disrupt the normal physiology of sleep, and less sleep can damage the immune system and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic disease, inflammation and mental health conditions.
“The risks of rising temperatures at night have often been overlooked,” said study co-author Yuqiang Zhang, a climatologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US.
“The frequency and average intensity of warm nights will increase by more than 30 percent and more than 60 percent, respectively, by 2100, compared with less than a 20 percent increase for average daily temperatures,” said Zhang Gillings of the School of Environmental Sciences and Engineering.
The results show that the average intensity of hot night events will almost double from 20.4 degrees Celsius to 39.7 degrees Celsius in 28 East Asian cities by 2090, increasing the burden of disease due to extreme heat disrupting normal sleep patterns.
This is the first study to estimate the impact of hot nights on climate change-related mortality risk.
The findings showed that the mortality burden could be significantly higher than estimated by the average daily temperature increase, thus suggesting that climate change-induced warming could have worrisome effects even under the limits imposed by the Paris Climate Agreement.
The team estimated deaths from extreme heat in 28 cities in China, South Korea and Japan between 1980 and 2015 and applied it to two climate change modeling scenarios that corresponded to carbon reduction scenarios adapted by the respective national governments.
Through this model, the team was able to predict that between 2016 and 2100, the risk of dying from hot nights will increase by about six times.
This projection is much higher than the daily average warming mortality risk suggested by climate change models.
“From our study, we note that when assessing the burden of disease due to suboptimal temperatures, governments and local policymakers should consider the additional health effects of disproportionate diurnal temperature changes,” said Haidong Kan, a professor at Fudan University in China.
Because the study only included 28 cities from three countries, Zhang said, “extrapolation of these results to the entire East Asian region or other regions should be cautious.”
The above article was published by the wire agency with minimal changes to the title and text.