The hottest nights put a strain on health: a study says

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High temperatures can disrupt the normal sleep-wake cycle, damaging the immune system and increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic conditions, inflammation and mental illness

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It’s no mystery that average temperatures are rising year after year. The recent heat waves are just a symptom of global warming which, if the situation does not change, will lead to a further increase in the average temperature of 2.5-3 degrees in 2100. The consequences of this phenomenon also affect human health, as further confirmed by a recent international study conducted by the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. The researchers’ findings, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, indicate that extremely warm nights due to climate change will increase the global death rate by 60% by the end of the century.

What do the health risks depend on?

This is because high temperatures can disrupt the normal sleep-wake cycle, damaging the immune system and increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic conditions, inflammation and mental illness. If the effects of climate change are felt now, the situation will deteriorate drastically in the coming decades. Scientists’ forecasts indicate that the average intensity of warm nights will nearly double between now and 2090, from 20.4 to 39.7 in 28 cities in East Asia, increasing the frequency of pathologies due to excessive heat.

The researchers’ estimates

Yuqiang Zhang, co-author of the study and a climate scientist in the Gillings School’s Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, explains that the risks associated with rising nighttime temperatures are often underestimated. “Our study found that nights with fairly high temperatures will occur faster than diurnal variations in average temperature,” he adds.

The study was conducted by a group of researchers in China, South Korea, Japan, Germany and the United States. The team estimated the excess heat-related deaths in 28 cities in China, South Korea and Japan between 1980 and 2015, and then applied it to two climate change modeling scenarios aligned with modified carbon reduction scenarios by their respective national governments. For example, he was able to estimate that by 2100 the risk of death due to warm nights will be almost six times greater.

Source: TG 24 Sky

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