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#291622 - 01/13/19 07:48 PM Which kills the most - heat or cold?
hikermor Offline
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6823
Loc: southern Cal
https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/Which-...ven=cat6-widget

Thought provoking article, although one feasible answer seems to is that the existing stats are rather poor -"more research is needed..."
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#291623 - 01/13/19 08:40 PM Re: Which kills the most - heat or cold? [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Offline
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Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1473
Loc: North Carolina
Just personal observations, some logic and basic facts would seem to indicate that heat would kill more. More people venture out during warmer months, and cold immediately makes you want to put on more clothes, and rethink your decision. I would also say that it is more likely that the people who venture out in the cold are generally more experienced, or they would be more likely to stay in. Just guessing.

I have personally seen more people push their limits in the heat than in the cold. I think the two extremes operate differently on the human psychology.

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#291626 - 01/14/19 12:35 AM Re: Which kills the most - heat or cold? [Re: hikermor]
dougwalkabout Offline
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Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2743
Loc: Alberta, Canada
The study is focused on the US, so it's hard to comment. In first-world countries, it's generally the most vulnerable who succumb to weather extremes, which means there are a lot of moving parts to account for when trying to parse statistics and identify a single cause.

Globally, though, it surely must be heat. It's simply a matter of population density in latitudes where heat waves occur.

All things being equal, it's harder to cool off than it is to warm up. (Though I confess I have had enough of winter already, and we have another two to three months ahead of us. Bah, humbug!)


Edited by dougwalkabout (01/14/19 12:36 AM)

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#291627 - 01/14/19 12:39 AM Re: Which kills the most - heat or cold? [Re: hikermor]
Ren Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/07
Posts: 144
Lancet on a wider study..

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150520193831.htm

Seems the extremes of either aren't the major killers. Probably because at the extremes people modify their behaviour more, take less risks.
But when the temperature is not extreme, but still either hot or cold, people more likely to risks.
Also wonder about population distribution amongst cold and hot climates. I'd guess more people live in the cold, due to water being available. Wonder if that skews the most deaths.


Edited by Ren (01/14/19 12:42 AM)

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#291628 - 01/14/19 01:31 AM Re: Which kills the most - heat or cold? [Re: hikermor]
dougwalkabout Offline
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Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2743
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Remarkable! The Lancet's conclusions are completely counter-intuitive to me. Thanks for the link -- I need to look at this more closely.

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#291630 - 01/14/19 03:28 AM Re: Which kills the most - heat or cold? [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Offline
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Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1473
Loc: North Carolina
It is not necessarily the extremes that kill, but the lack of understanding of how the weather will affect the body's temperature. Hypothermia is more likely (in sheer volume) in temperatures above freezing, because people go out unprepared and improperly dressed. It does not have to be 100 degrees F to kill if you are not hydrating and overexerting.

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#291631 - 01/14/19 02:09 PM Re: Which kills the most - heat or cold? [Re: hikermor]
Ren Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/07
Posts: 144
Aye. Few years ago had 3 army guys died from hyperthermia during Fan Dance, a SAS selection/training exercise.

Was a hot day for this area (South Wales), but only 30C/86F and expected time for the exercise is around 4 hours in the Summer.


Edited by Ren (01/14/19 02:09 PM)

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#291632 - 01/14/19 04:10 PM Re: Which kills the most - heat or cold? [Re: Ren]
hikermor Offline
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Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6823
Loc: southern Cal
One thing not mentioned (apparently) is the effect of wind (wind chill). Hypothermia is easily achieved at temps of 50 F with enough wind, while high winds simply moderate the effects of high temperatures. Level of activity is a potent factor as well.

For that matter, relative humidity is very important. Dry heat is more bearable than wetter conditions.

There are good reasons for the practice of a mid afternoon siesta in warm areas. What is it that they say about mad dogs and Englishmen? (No offence intended for you Brits...)


Edited by hikermor (01/14/19 04:19 PM)
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#291633 - 01/14/19 05:30 PM Re: Which kills the most - heat or cold? [Re: hikermor]
adam2 Offline
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Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 432
Loc: Somerset UK
I suspect that globally, that heat kills more people than cold, since there are large populations, many of them very poor, in hot climates.

In colder climates such as the UK deaths from cold almost certainly outnumber those from heat.
In many cases elderly people die at home, and even an expert can not reliably determine the direct cause of death. Cold ? malnutrition ? heart failure ? or general frailty and old age ?

Likewise if a younger person dies whilst out running on a hot day, it is often debatable as whether they died of heat or heart failure, or some long standing medical condition.

Cold is easier to prepare for. All but the very poorest in most cold climates have access to warm clothes, warm bedding, weathertight homes, and at least some heating.
(the very poorest DO die in cold weather)

Much less can be done about heat, apart from air conditioning which is beyond the reach of many in the tropics.
Having to perform physical work in hot and humid conditions is inherently risky, and weather just slightly hotter than the norm can lead to substantial loss of life.

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#291634 - 01/15/19 07:59 AM Re: Which kills the most - heat or cold? [Re: hikermor]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1753
The prediction in some area's in the world (primarily southwest Asia), is that the wet-bulb temperatures may be reaching a certain % of the population, depending on which model is used, in this century. Wet-bulb temperatures are lethal without active cooling (AC).

http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/8/e1603322
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