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How Real Are Heatwave Death Claims?

September 19, 2017

By Paul Homewood


Yesterday I reported on the latest attempt by the CCC to scare the public about worsening heatwaves.

According to PBC Today:

Now, the CCC has warned people could be at risk if action is not taken. According to the organisation, the number of deaths due to heat waves is set to more than triple by 2040. With 7,000 deaths a year expected to be attributed to deadly heatwaves, the CCC is calling on the government to act now.


The last real heatwave in the UK, July 2006, is often held up as an example of how many excess deaths occur in hot weather.

England Mean daily maximum temp - July


According to the Met Office, there were 680 excess deaths.

But how reliable are these guesstimates?

The first thing to note is that the summer months traditionally have the lowest death rates of the whole year, with August lowest of all months. This hardly supports the general assertion that hot weather is harmful to health.



Now let’s home in on the summer season. I have included September as it has a similar death rate to June:



As we can see, the percentage of deaths in 2006 was not in any way unusual. Indeed, the highest percentage was in 2011, one of the coldest summers in the last decade. (I have used “percentage of annual deaths”, as the annual death rate has been creeping up in recent years).



And what about the month of July itself?

We actually find that the death rate was lower in 2006 than the following two, wholly unexceptional years.



There seems to be little evidence to show that the heatwave in July 2006 had any long term effect on death rates.

  1. September 19, 2017 12:59 pm

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics?

    • Ian Magness permalink
      September 19, 2017 1:05 pm

      Nope, just lies, and very self-serving ones at that.

  2. Tim Hammond permalink
    September 19, 2017 1:02 pm

    I assume that the “tripling” to 7,000 deaths is based on the Met Office’s claim of 2,139 excess deaths in 2003?.

    But how exactly are these “heatwaves” killing people, when the temperatures are far lower than those in say Arizona, a place with generally an older population? And since the claimed excess deaths are pretty low (680 in 2006) it is absurd to suggest that every dwelling needs changing, or even that every new dwelling needs changing.

    If there are specific risks for a few thousand people. let’s deal with these risks, not change everything for everybody.

    • theguvnor permalink
      September 19, 2017 1:52 pm

      Maybe its reverse psychology. Stuffing buildings with insulation doesn’t prevent heat gain as much as solid walls do in the med or hotter climes by allowing for thermal lag (soak up heat in the day release it slowly at night when it is cooler and needed). However insulation does prevent heat loss in a cold climate and maybe behind it all a colder climate is what they are actually planning for?

  3. September 19, 2017 1:49 pm

    In a windy cloudy and damp country like Britain, mostly above 50°N, unusual heat barely rates above zero as a concern – apart from its usual absence for most of the summer 😉

  4. September 19, 2017 1:58 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News.

  5. richard walker permalink
    September 19, 2017 2:00 pm

    The real killer is cold, as clearly shown, so these so called ‘excessive heat deaths’ will be balanced by a reduction in ‘cold deaths’ so it will all balance out n’est-ce pas!

  6. Curious George permalink
    September 19, 2017 2:38 pm

    Paul, you are a lowly labourer, actually wading through data. Public servants of CCC can not be expected to do this tedious work. Their function is thinking and planning. Their results speak for themselves.

  7. BLACK PEARL permalink
    September 19, 2017 2:42 pm

    Maybe its just Gummer getting too hot under the collar about his Fake Govt. Job.
    A good dose of Trump would sort him out.

  8. Bitter&twisted permalink
    September 20, 2017 7:20 am

    Lord “Dipin” (Gummer) is a money-grubbing scamster.

  9. Geoff Sherrington permalink
    September 20, 2017 8:23 am

    Here is a heap of Australian capital city data testing ig heatwaves are becoming longer, hotter and more frequent.
    The finding here is that in the main, they are not.
    You guys should do similar analyses for UK. Would be most interesting to compare. Geoff.

    Click to access are_heatwaves_hotter.pdf

  10. September 20, 2017 5:03 pm

    Death counts are an indication of bad stats
    Cos granny dying a few days earlier cannot be compared to fit 23 year old dying.
    The figure should be QALDS Quality adjusted life days

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