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Health sciences: Estimating heat-related deaths under global warming in Chinese cities

Nature Communications

August 7, 2019

A temperature rise of 2.0°C above pre-industrial levels could lead to at least 27,900 additional heat-related deaths in Chinese cities, annually, compared to a 1.5°C rise. The findings are published in Nature Communications this week.

Yanjun Wang, Buda Su, Tong Jiang and colleagues modelled heat-related mortality rates for 27 cities in China (with a total population of over 247 million people) under a 1.5°C and 2°C rise in global temperatures. They also examined heat-related mortality rates for five different projected socioeconomic pathways from 2010 - 2100. The findings suggest that the mortality rate is likely to increase throughout China, and at a higher rate in northern China. Without socioeconomic adaptations to increasing temperatures, the heat-related mortality rate could increase to around 104 - 130 per million under a 1.5°C rise, and approximately 137 - 170 per million for 2.0°C. When adaptations to increasing temperatures were integrated into their assessment, heat-related mortalities were around 49 - 67 per million people for 1.5°C, and 59 - 81 per million people for 2.0°C.

The authors conclude that limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C could reduce mortality rates by 18% compared to 2.0°C warming.

doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11283-w | Original article

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