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Munich RE Using Fabricated Fatality Numbers

November 9, 2014

By Paul Homewood

 

h/t Joe Public

 

image

http://www.munichre.com/site/corporate/get/documents_E1517841372/mr/assetpool.shared/Documents/5_Touch/Natural%20Hazards/NatCatService/Annual%20Statistics/2013/MunichRe-Natcatservice-Naturaldisaster2013-Ordered-by-dth.pdf 

 

 

 

Joe sent me this table from Munich RE, which claimed that last year’s “heatwave” in the UK caused 760 fatalities. As readers may recall, the summer of 2013 was pleasantly warm, but certainly not remarkable.

My BS Button lit up when I noticed that the UK “deaths” were greater than claimed in the Indian heatwave, despite:

a) India being much hotter.

b) The UK having much better health systems in place to tackle any problems arising.

c) A much larger population being affected in India.

 

So I decided to investigate a bit further.

 

The figure of 760 fatalities seems to have been originally reported in July 2013. The story was carried in many newspapers, including the Metro.

 

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http://metro.co.uk/2013/07/18/heatwave-warning-extended-across-england-as-up-to-760-deaths-linked-to-high-temperatures-3887932/ 

 

The Metro explain where this figure comes from.

 

Figures by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimate that between 540 and 760 lives have been taken in the first nine days of the heatwave alone. The death toll is expected to increase as temperatures continue to rise.

 

So, where did they get the figures from?

It is worth bearing in mind that the government keeps annual statistics for excess winter deaths, but is so unconcerned by deaths from heatwaves that they have no such data for summer. This is how they define the winter figure.

 

The ONS standard method defines the winter period as December to March, and compares the number of deaths that occurred in this winter period with the average number of deaths occurring in the preceding August to November and the following April to July.

 

In other words, they do not attempt to calculate deaths due to “cold weather” specifically.

The ONS statistics also show mean daily deaths by month.

 

image

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-326925

 

Bearing in mind that it was July 2013 which was the hottest month last year, mean daily deaths were actually lower than the five-year mean.

 

So where did the figure of 760 come from? To find out, we can check what the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has to say.

 

image

http://blogs.lshtm.ac.uk/news/2013/07/18/premature-deaths-from-heatwave-in-england/

 

An estimated 650 people may have died prematurely due to the current heatwave in England, according to research by Professor Ben Armstrong.

Figures produced by Prof Armstrong for the Times looked at the number of premature deaths attributable to heat in England for 6 -14 July 2013. The estimate was calculated using a model published in 2011 research from Prof Armstrong and colleagues that used region specific estimates of risk due to heat for the period 1993-2006*.

Prof Armstrong, an epidemiological statistician at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “Our previous studies have shown that as temperatures rise above a certain threshold, the risk of death increases. Using the same model, we estimate that the current heatwave has caused the premature deaths of 650 people.

“The excess is likely to have been overwhelmingly among the elderly, especially those over 75, some of which may have been among people who would have died just a few weeks later if there had been no heatwave.”

The estimated 650 deaths have a confidence interval of 540-760. Download Prof Armstrong’s full calculations (PDF, 168KB).

 

So the figure had no actual basis in reality, but was simply the result of a model!

Just about good enough for global warming propaganda!

If Munich RE are using fabricated data in this instance, can we trust anything they say?

16 Comments
  1. November 9, 2014 1:49 pm

    No data, no evidence. That’s the alarmist norm.

  2. November 9, 2014 2:00 pm

    Mean daily deaths without any estimate of variance, so the reader has no way to determine if any difference discussed is statistically significant. Also, the warmer month death rates seem to be less than the winter month death rates. I suppose it doesn’t do to talk about excess cold weather premature deaths.

  3. November 9, 2014 2:04 pm

    Reblogged this on JunkScience.com and commented:
    Deaths in the colder months exceed the deaths in the hot months, but excess premature deaths are calculated for summer.

  4. November 9, 2014 2:12 pm

    Give that bloke 100million for a new computer.

  5. Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter) permalink
    November 9, 2014 2:29 pm

    On the Metro: ‘News, but not as you know it.’ AND HOW!

  6. SSY permalink
    November 9, 2014 2:32 pm

    In fairness, Ben Armstrong did say
    a. deaths were likely only among the very old
    b. individuals were likely very frail.
    so the number of years-of-life lost was likely quite small.

    There is some responsibility for the reader to think about the qualifiers the author gives.

    • Allan M permalink
      November 9, 2014 5:28 pm

      And some responsibility for journalists to switch their brains on, not just cut&paste.

    • November 9, 2014 5:59 pm

      Remember that monthly deaths for July 2013 were actually less than the 5-yr mean, which is made up of a string of cold, wet summers!

  7. Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter) permalink
    November 9, 2014 2:45 pm

    Reposted, with link back to you (of course!)

  8. catweazle666 permalink
    November 9, 2014 3:56 pm

    So, another bloody computer game…

  9. November 9, 2014 4:59 pm

    Ignoring for a moment that they made up the numbers, it’s quite obvious that ‘heatwaves’ can increase deaths. The key point is they don’t have to be anything out of the ordinary as the heat adds stress to the body and cities are much warmer than rural areas. Warm nights increase this further, again more so in cities.

    People I know with heart and lung conditions struggle in high heat (30C+) but more so if accompanied by high humidity, so for example July 2014 was quite uncomfortable for them despite being as you say Paul nothing special. Conversely they struggle in winter when we get sub zero temps (more than -5C). But this is something that happens in most years and reading the CET series is hardly unusual. We tend to swing back and forth and anyone taking one period and adding a linear trend is a charlatan or a moron.

    I had many a relative who refused to visit London in the summer as they humidity was too much – humidity that comes from the Continent and as they live so much further North, experience it much less (not to mention the bowl effect London has trapping heat and pollutants).

    What these studies should model is how many of people were saved due to easy access to hospitals, cooling (AC/fans), hydration etc all of which was not widely available a hundred years ago and which has come about due to cheap fossil fuel energy. When you balance the gains from fossil fuels it far outweighs the massive losses which litter our history and any imagined losses which – just like projected heat – only seem to exist in computer models.

    The summer of 1868 was very hot & dry, with some of the highest temperatures ever recorded for the second half of July occurring in this year. There was a remarkable spell of hot days, with temperatures over 30degC in England. For the south-east of England specifically, a maximum temperature above 32degC was recorded in each of the months from May to September, and in July specifically, the temperature exceeded 32degC on 9 days; the soil was very dry (lack of precipitation), which would of course mean that solar energy was most effective. [ Note that consistency of instrumentation / housing was not as high as it is today.] 
    > It was regarded for many years, until 1976 at least, as the longest (due lack of rainfall) & hottest in the instrumental record for England.

    http://booty.org.uk/booty.weather/climate/1850_1899.htm

  10. November 9, 2014 7:07 pm

    Posted on my Facebook page. Thanks to all who dug this up.

  11. November 9, 2014 8:49 pm

    “It is worth bearing in mind that the government keeps annual statistics for excess winter deaths, but is so unconcerned by deaths from heatwaves that they have no such data for summer.”

    The irony is, despite the UK’s weather causing a predominantly heating demand for comfort, Public Health England chooses to provide at vast expense a “Heatwave Plan for England”, yet produces no such similar advice for coping with cold weather when more of its ‘customers’ die.

    http://www.england.nhs.uk/2013/05/23/heatwave-plan-2013/

  12. November 10, 2014 12:30 am

    Thanks, Paul. Sad situation you are in. These people are trying to profit from the death.
    This goes well beyond tunnel-vision.

  13. November 10, 2014 4:00 am

    Applies to the original paper.

    http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/589005/1/1471-2288-13-1-S1.pdf

  14. November 10, 2014 4:05 pm

    Nice work Paul!

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