More than 356,000 people died from extreme-heat related causes in just nine countries in 2019 and the body count is expected to rise as human-caused climate change continues to drive up global temperatures, a pair of studies published Thursday in The Lancet shows. Heat-related deaths increased 74% from 1980 to 2016. The 356,000 people who died in 2019 lived in nine countries encompassing 95% of the inhabited global temperature range, but account for just 29% of the global population.
The studies highlight how extreme heat can be an unaccounted for cause of deaths, UCSD Environmental epidemiologist Tarik Benmarhnia, who was not involved in the research, told CNN. “What is most problematic about heat is that this is a sneaky climate issue, because it kills many people, but it is not impressive like a hurricane or something. It’s just happening all the time, so it is sneaky.” (CNN, Axios, Indian Express, The Times, Express UK; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwaves)