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By 2050, up to 246 million older people could be exposed to heat risk due to global warming




By 2050, up to 246 million older people could be exposed to heat risk due to global warming
37.5°C. Credit: Nature Communication (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-47197-5″ width=”800″ height=”525″/>

Global intersection of aging and heat exposure in current climate (left column) and circa 2050, SSP2(45) (right column). A, B Proportion of the population aged 69 years and older exposed to annual Cooling Degree Days (CDDs). C, D Annual temperatures corresponding to the 95th percentile of local extreme heat exposure (TMAX95). E, F Annual days with TMAX > 37.5°C. Credit: Nature communication (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-47197-5

A team of earth and environmental scientists from the CMCC Foundation – Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, working with some colleagues from Boston University, has found evidence suggesting that as many as 246 million people around the world may be at risk on heat exposure by 2050 due to global warming and the aging of the population.

In their paper published in the magazine Nature communicationthe group describes how they used climate models to assess global hotspots and compare them to population projections for the same areas.

The planet is getting warmer due to man-made greenhouse gas emissions entering the atmosphere. But not all parts of the planet will warm at the same rate; some places, such as parts of Africa and Asia, are expected to become hotter than other places.

Unfortunately, at the same time, the number of people over 60 is also growing – their number is expected to double by 2050, and many of them live in Asia and Africa – in countries where air conditioning is rare.

In this new study, the research team noted that while much research has been done to better understand the impact of extreme heat on the elderly, little work has been done to find out how many of them may be at risk in the coming years. . To find out, they looked at both climate and population models for the years up to 2050.

Climate models show that the global average number of extremely hot days will grow from about 10 to 20 over the next thirty years. The researchers also found that those hot days will be hotter depending on where they occur.

And the population models showed that about 23% of people over the age of 69 will live in parts of the world where these dangerously high temperatures will occur – that figure is just 14% today.

Overall, the research team found that somewhere between 177 and 246 million people over the age of 69 live in places that will regularly experience dangerously high temperatures by 2050, putting many of them at risk of exposure-related illness or death.

More information:
Giacomo Falchetta et al, Global projections of heat exposure of older adults, Nature communication (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-47197-5

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