02/03/2014 06:30 pm ET Updated Feb 03, 2014

UK To See Heat-Related Deaths Spike In 2050s Due To Climate Change, Aging Population

Jeffrey Coolidge via Getty Images

As the global temperature rises, so, too, will the number of heat-related deaths.

That's according to a report published Monday in the British Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, which predicts a large increase in temperature-related human mortality, with such deaths projected to rise 257 percent in the U.K. by the 2050s.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Public Health England came to the disconcerting conclusion after correlating death rates in England and Wales to historic weather patterns from 1993 through 2006, then applying that data to projected demographic shifts and climate change through the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s.

According to the British Medical Journal, death rates were found to increase slightly more than 2 percent for every corresponding 1.8 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature.

Given current climate change projections -- and assuming no corrective measures are taken -- this translates into a 257 percent increase in deaths in the U.K. by the 2050s, once a projected increase in the population of those aged 85 or older is also taken into account.

In raw numbers, that translates to 7,040 deaths per year in the 2050s, up from around 2,000 heat-related deaths per year currently. Interestingly, the researchers predict a corresponding decrease in cold-weather related deaths, though the estimated decrease of around 1,000 per year isn't enough to fully offset the total deaths.



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