Signals Summary: Climate change has amplified the intensity, duration and frequency of extreme heat and heatwaves. Exposure to extreme heat is already a significant public health problem and this will only get worse as global warming continues to drive temperatures higher.
Article Excerpt: The summer heatwaves of 2019 resulted in almost 900 extra deaths, according to statistical analysis from Public Health England.
Over the past four years more than 3,400 people have died early during periods of extreme temperature in England. Global heating is increasing the frequency of heatwaves and a cross-party committee of MPs warned in July that the UK was “woefully unprepared” for this impact of the climate emergency.
All regions of England were affected except the south-west, and almost all the premature deaths were among people aged 65 or over. The frail elderly with heart or kidney problems are most at risk in a heatwave and dehydration can also lead to dizziness and falls.
The climate crisis made 2019 a year of record temperatures in the UK, according to the Met Office. The only region that recorded a statistically significant number of deaths in those under 65 was London, with 41 early deaths reported during the August heatwave.