New research suggests that assumptions that winter mortality rates will fall as a result of milder winters, expected as part of the UK’s changing climate, may be misplaced. Researchers working at the University of Exeter and University College London reviewed data on winter deaths from 1951 to 2011. In recent decades, the predominant factor in winter deaths seems to be ‘flu, rather than cold days. The research team suggests that this might be due to better housing, health care and an awareness of the dangers of winter cold. However, they stress that extreme events associated with climate change may even increase winter deaths, so there should be no reduction in existing efforts to reduce winter mortality rates.
- Environmental Research Web: Climate change won’t reduce deaths in winter
- Nature Climate Change: Climate warming will not decrease winter mortality
- Nature Climate Change: Human impacts: Winter weather and health