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How to Prevent Heat-Related Deaths in New York Due to Climate Change, According to Scientists

Jul 06, 2016 07:55 AM EDT
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Following an alarming study stating that heath-related deaths in urban areas like New York could rise to 3,331 people per year by 2080, a team of scientists has identified two major ways to dramatically minimize the mortality rate from extreme heat exposure.
(Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

With growing concerns about climate change, a team of scientists identified ways to avoid heat-related deaths in the future.

This study follows an alarming research published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, which states that by 2080, around 3,331 people in New York could die from extreme heat exposure. The said number is equal to a 47 to 95-percent rise in heat-related deaths during the summer, with a projected increase of 2.7 to 7.6 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature.

According to, the scientists used the data from the previous study and showed that there are two main ways that people could minimize heat-related deaths in the future: reducing fuel emissions and improving adaptation efforts.

Reducing Fuel Emissions

"This study shows that climate change is putting more people at risk of death as a result of extreme heat. These deaths could be avoided by limiting greenhouse gas emissions and by pursuing high-temperature adaptation methods," says co-author Dr. Antonio Gasparrini, a senior lecturer in biostatistics and epidemiology at the School.

By creating a climate model based on the study's information, the researchers said the 3,331 heat-related deaths per year could be reduced to 1,779 if the amount of greenhouse gas is minimized.

The study notes that climate change trajectories should follow concentration pathways 4.5 and 8.5 in order to create a significant effect on heath-related deaths.

Improving Adaptation Efforts

The use of air conditioning in households and establishments as means of coping up with the warmer climate is nearing its maximum effectiveness. However, this means that people, especially in big urban areas like New York, should reduce urban island heat effect using other means, such as planting trees, installing reflective roofs as well as providing cooling centers.

Also, the study adds that economic security and overall population health can lead to more effective ways of adaptation.

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