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Mild Weather Reduces Winter Deaths To Record Low In UK

November 29, 2014

By Paul Homewood




I wonder where Roger Harrabin is today!


I was waiting for the stats to be published by the ONS, but in the meantime the BBC beat me to it!


The lowest ever number of winter deaths was recorded last year, official figures for England and Wales show.

An estimated 18,200 excess winter deaths occurred in 2013-14, the lowest number since records began in 1950-51.

Last winter was notably warmer than in previous years and had a relatively mild flu season which contributed to the lower number of deaths.

The Office for National Statistics data compares deaths in winter months with averages in other seasons.

It showed 11.6% more people died last winter and elderly people were disproportionately affected.

Of the 18,200 excess deaths, 14,000 were in the over-75s.


Temperatures were 2C above average for December and January last year.

The ONS report said: "The peak in mortality for 2013-14 was much less pronounced than in previous years with 8% fewer mean [average] daily deaths during December and January compared to the five year average."

While excess winter deaths are linked to low temperatures, hypothermia is not the main cause.

Experience shows that the majority of such deaths are due to heart disease, stroke and respiratory illness.



The Office of National Statistics use the following methodology:


Our 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:

EWM = winter deaths – average non-winter deaths

This produces the number of excess winter deaths (EWDs), which is then rounded to the nearest 10 for final data and to the nearest 100 for provisional data.


We can take a closer look at the trends in recent years.




Now contrast with mean temperature in England & Wales for Dec to March.




A year ago, the BBC reported:

There was a big rise in the number of winter deaths last year, official figures for England and Wales show.

An estimated 31,100 excess winter deaths occurred in 2012-13 – a 29% increase on the previous winter.

The Office for National Statistics data, which compares deaths in winter months with averages in other seasons, shows most of the deaths involved people over 75.

Cold weather and flu largely explain the trends.

Although last winter was milder than average in December, there followed a prolonged period of lower than average temperatures.

March 2013 was the coldest since 1962 with an average monthly temperature of just 2.6°C.

The number of winter deaths peaked in the first week of January, which coincided with a peak in rates of influenza-like illness over the Christmas weeks.

The death rate remained higher than average for a prolonged period between February and April 2013.


And what about those deadly heatwaves we keep hearing about?




The lowest number of deaths nearly always occurs in August, as it did again this year, with June, July and September the next lowest.


Along with a record harvest this year and domestic electricity consumption down 8% during Q1, it appears that Britain has little to fear from a warmer climate.

  1. November 29, 2014 2:04 pm

    No doubt this will be seen as one of the detrimental effects of “climate change”.

  2. November 29, 2014 3:22 pm

    Considering insignificant “Weedy things’ thriving in one tiny bay of Antarctica was attributed to Climate Change despite record sea-ice & local volcanic activity, it’s strange how the Beeb hasn’t linked ‘good’ news of UK citizens thriving, to the warming.

  3. November 29, 2014 4:47 pm

    CET runs a bit opposite the global wave,
    due to
    – believe or not –
    the GH effect
    (more clouds and condensation energy coming free during a global cooling period)
    but eventually the cooling will hit hit w-europe as well.
    You can the rainfall predicted [by me] for the UK here:

  4. November 29, 2014 4:51 pm

    perhaps somebody can help me to get that picture up here again
    I got lost again on knowing how to do it

  5. November 29, 2014 5:45 pm

    So, if that were not clear,
    during the -somewhat- dryer years it will get very cold in central england, especially in winter….

  6. John F. Hultquist permalink
    November 29, 2014 5:49 pm

    I don’t doubt the basic issue that cold weather is harder to cope with than hot weather – we get both here. Even when it is 100° F (37.8° C) I do not feel I am in danger but when it is 10° below (-23° C) there is a sense that something can go wrong in a hurry.
    There are many problems with attributing cause to such national statistics. One idea is that in a nation that mostly celebrates religious holy days in December, and New Years Day just after, there is likely a psycho-physical connection. Maybe an older person sticks around for the season highlights and then checks out. Or a person alone seeing all the neighbors having a good time is enough to bring on depression and health issues. Further, if there is serious cold in one winter and many elderly die, then there will be fewer elderly the following summer and August numbers would not be high. Over many years some of these things should average out.
    Australia and New Zealand also have excess winter death as noted at Jo Nova’s site:

    Regardless, I am in favor of warm houses in the winter time. Our house is all electric but we do have lots of trees. I’m supplying 2 other households with firewood culled from the relentlessly growing – CO2 enhanced – trees. They need the fuel and I’m happy to see it gone.

  7. November 29, 2014 5:50 pm

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    Nice blog post by Paul Homewood, deosntrating that global warming saves lives in the UK (and no doubt other northern countries)

  8. November 29, 2014 6:11 pm

    demonstrating, perhaps?

  9. November 29, 2014 7:09 pm

    I’ve always wondered at the claim that slightly warmer weather in mid-latitude countries would be somehow bad. How? Clearly, slightly warmer weather in countries with cold winters are nothing but good. Glad to hear some good news!

  10. Green Sand permalink
    November 29, 2014 10:09 pm

    Does this mean I no longer need to take the advice of many doctors to spend my winters in warmer climes?

    But then again are the same potentially UEA trained medics likely to advise against summer hols in warmer climes?

    One wonders how homo sapiens manged to enhance his well being without the insight of the new species homo superbus? I suppose we are suffering from a product of our own success?

  11. Andy DC permalink
    November 30, 2014 12:34 am

    Within the last couple of days it has been as cold as -40 in Canada and -60F in Russia. And we are supposed to believe that a few degrees of warming is bad?

  12. November 30, 2014 8:00 am

    It is getting more cooler from the top latitudes down…..

  13. November 30, 2014 12:26 pm

    Netweather have released their forecast for winter:;sess=
    It seems like they are predicting a slightly colder than average winter, which would be quite a turn round from recent temperatures.
    I’m not sure what their track record is like.

    • Green Sand permalink
      November 30, 2014 10:11 pm

      QV, re winter forecasts you may (if not already seen?) find the following of interest:-

      “Interview with Judah Cohen”

      His latest for the forthcoming season:-

      “Arctic Oscillation Analysis and Forecasts”

      Should be interesting to watch how the season develops, so far “However, renewed warming of the polar cap favors a negative trend in the AO. With cold air expanding in Western Siberia we see increasing risks of an Arctic outbreak into Europe in week 2 and beyond.” looks to be arriving on cue?

  14. November 30, 2014 12:40 pm

    quote from QV’s link:
    “Around average rainfall but conditions favour wetter further south and drier to the north of the UK”

    is that not exactly what I have been predicting for what happens during a global cooling period?

  15. December 5, 2014 10:18 am

    The BBC mentioned the MO winter forecast this morning.
    The only information they gave is that it was more likely to be warmer than average and wetter than average, but still with a chance of the opposite, so whatever happens they’re right as usual.
    As usual it is difficult to find detail of this on the MO site.
    The last reference I can find is the following but it relates to Nov-Jan.
    Anybody have a link to more recent information or the detailed forecast?


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