A global study has attributed 1.75 million deaths per year to fluctuating temperatures.
As the first quantifiable research of its kind, the study led by Monash University, found temperature variability had similar impacts to air pollution on global mortality.
Deaths as a result of temperature variability accounted for 3.4% of all deaths globally between 2000 and 2019.
Asia had the most deaths globally between 2000 and 2019, followed by Australia and New Zealand.
Australia and New Zealand had the biggest increase in deaths per decade (7.3%), which was a higher percentage excess in mortality than the global mean.
Europe’s death rate was at 4.4% and Africa 3.3%.
Professor Yuming Guo, Director of the Monash Climate, Air Quality Research (CARE) Unit, said more attention should be paid to the health impacts of temperature variability. “Climate change is a major public health concern of the 21st century. Our findings show that temperature variability has similar impacts to air pollution on global mortality,” Professor Guo said.
“With temperatures becoming increasingly unstable, proactive countermeasures are necessary to protect human health against temperature variability.
“Many policies have been developed to cope with the threat of climate-related extreme events, for example, warning systems for heatwaves and air pollution. However, these policies and strategies rarely exist to cope with the adverse health impacts of temperature variability.”
The study was published in The Lancet Planetary Health.