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Mortality Statistics During July 2015 Heatwave

December 22, 2016

By Paul Homewood

 

 

 

Every summer we hear that thousands of people are dying in Britain because of heatwaves.

Only last summer the Committee on Climate Change published a report claiming:

currently 2,000 people die prematurely each year in the UK from heat-related conditions.”

 

We now have the mortality data for last year from the ONS, so we can analyse what happened in July 2015, when the new “record” temperature for July was set next to the runway at Heathrow.

 

First, let’s look at the Central England Temperatures for that period:

 

image

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/index.html

 

The real heat began on the first of the month, although the day before was also warm at 28.2C.

And when we look at the mortality statistics, we find that they did indeed peak on the 1st and 2nd:

 

image

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/excesswintermortalityinenglandandwalesreferencetables

 

Deaths on those two days were in fact 415 above the 5-year average.

But the real question is whether these deaths would have occurred anyway, and were simply brought forward by a few days.

To test this, we can look at the death totals as they accumulated through the month:

 

image

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/excesswintermortalityinenglandandwalesreferencetables

 

We find that after the first four days of the month the number of excess deaths begins to decline. By July 26th, death totals are virtually back to average, only 15 above normal.

The running total does begin to pick up slightly at the end of the month, but this was at a time when temperatures were at their lowest.

This was, of course, a short lived heatwave, and there is little doubt we would see more deaths in the sort of more sustained heatwaves seen in 1976 and 2003.

But there is certainly no evidence that excess deaths are occurring because of the sort of hot weather this country experiences during most summers.

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5 Comments
  1. Joe Public permalink
    December 22, 2016 11:58 am

    The obvious counter on the balance sheet is excess winter mortality, which you covered 3 years ago with: “24,000 Excess Winter Deaths In England & Wales”

    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/24000-excess-winter-deaths-in-england-wales/

  2. David Richardson permalink
    December 22, 2016 12:09 pm

    “currently 2,000 people die prematurely each year in the UK from heat-related conditions.”

    Well that could be true, but as you allude to Paul, bare statistics say nothing about whether these folk were at death’s door anyway. Do they want us to believe that all these people were healthy specimens going about their lives when they were suddenly struck down by a bit of good weather??!!

    What do they have to say about premature deaths in a cold spell? – or is that just buried somewhere, like the poor souls who can’t afford to heat their homes. A situation where once again climate change policy kills more people than CO2 ever will, whatever you believe about AGW.

  3. Hivemind permalink
    December 22, 2016 1:02 pm

    There’s a problem here. Reading off your graph, the highest temperature in that month was 33 C. That is not extreme and you shouldn’t be finding any excess deaths at all from that.

  4. December 22, 2016 1:07 pm

    Die prematurely? I suppose if they could speak, most people who die would respond that it was premature. This seems to be a silly term.

  5. December 22, 2016 4:39 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

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