The summers are getting longer and hotter year by year, a seasonal shift that scientists say pollutes the air quality, economies that depend on agriculture or winter recovery – and human health.
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According to a new study published in the journal "Nature Climate Change" on Monday, the changing seasons could even trigger 26,000 more suicides in the US by 2050.
"It's a kind of brutal finding," study author and Stanford University professor Marshall Burke said the Atlantic.
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Burke and his colleagues analyzed extensive multi-decade mortality data for the US and Mexico, two countries that account for about 7 percent of suicides worldwide. By interpolating the monthly temperature and precipitation data from the Mexican National Institute of Geography, the US PRISM climate data set, and more than 1
>> Topic: Suicide rate rises in Georgia by 16 percent, finds CDC
They also looked at depressive language in social media by collecting geocentric Twitter data to examine how temperatures increase the likelihood of using specific depressive keywords in tweets.
Using 30 global climate models for future climate projection, the researchers then combined their historical estimates of the influence of temperature on suicide to estimate the potential increase in suicide rates due to warming by 2050.
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According to the robust projection data, study authors predict that by the year 2050, approximately 14,000 people in the US – and even 26,000 – could die of suicide if global temperatures continued to rise, even after controlling for any other important variable Influence suicide rate.
When monthly temperatures are 1 degree Celsius warmer than usual, researchers estimate suicide rates in the US at 0.7 percent and Mexico at 2.1 percent.
"Climate change will produce winners and losers – that's one sentence you hear all the time," Burke said, "but for that result, it's all losers. There are no winners. We find these strong linear relationships everywhere as you increase the temperature.
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Researchers have not drawn any conclusions about specific mechanisms behind the climate-suicide relationship, but they have addressed earlier research that shows how thermoregulation and other neurological reactions to high temperatures directly alter the mental well-being of individuals – and depressive disorders are involved in more than half of all suicides.
Previous research from Harvard TH The Chan School of Public Health has also found that people suffering from the heat have a decreased cognitive function.
>> Topic: 2017 was the warmest year ever for Georgia, says climatologist
Unlike other causes of mortality due to temperature, "suicide increases at high temperatures and lowers at low temperatures," wrote the authors of the Nature study. In addition, "the effect of temperature on suicide has not decreased over time and does not seem to decline with increasing income or the introduction of air conditioning."
According to the results of the predicted impact of climate change on suicide rates by 2050, they are "two to four times higher than the estimated effect of a 1% increase in the unemployment rate in the European Union" and "about one-third that in absolute terms Magnitudes (with opposite signs) like the estimated effect of the weapons restriction laws in the United States states. "
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"The large scale of our findings provides additional stimulus to better understand why temperature affects suicide and introduces measures to mitigate future temperature rise," the authors concluded.
Read the full study on nature.com .
Last year was Georgia's warmest year with a record average temperature of 65.8 degrees, state climatologist Bill Murphey said. The majority of the country also recorded above-average temperatures in 2017.
According to the Atlanta Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1999 and 2016, the country also experienced a 30% increase in suicide rates.
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Between 1996 and 2016, Georgia recorded a 16.2 percent increase in suicide rates, and comparatively low in those 25 states where suicide rates increased by almost 30 percent. However, according to the CDC, this is still considered a significant increase.
If you or someone you know thinks about suicide, or if you care about someone else, here are some helpful sources:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24 Hours)
Suicide prevention device for parents, guardians and families
Suicide Prevention Resources for Adolescents
Suicide prevention for survivors of suicide loss
Other resources and programs at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.