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An elderly woman suffering from a heatstroke in a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan in 2015. Photo: Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

More than one-third of heat deaths each year can be directly linked to climate change, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Why it matters: The findings require global actors to take "more ambitious mitigation and adaptation strategies to minimize the public health impacts of climate change," the study said.

The big picture: The research examined data of heat deaths from 732 locations across 43 countries, from 1991 to 2018. About 37% of heat-related deaths worldwide can be attributed to higher temperatures from human-caused climate change, the study found.

  • The highest percentage of climate change-caused heat deaths were in cities in South America, though southern Asia and southern Europe were also hotspots, per AP.
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil, had the highest level of heat deaths, averaging 239 per year, according to AP.
  • In the U.S., climate change caused more than 1,000 deaths per year across 200 cities.
  • "[S]cientists say that's only a sliver of climate’s overall toll — even more people die from other extreme weather amplified by global warming such as storms, flooding and drought — and the heat death numbers will grow exponentially with rising temperatures," AP noted.

Of note: The "research indirectly suggests a divide between rich and poor regions. North America and East Asia, the researchers found, tended toward a smaller proportion of climate-related deaths" while the Central and South America saw higher proportions, reports the New York Times.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' climate reporter Andrew Freedman: The study draws on methods used for climate forensics work, known as "detection and attribution" studies to decipher climate change's role in extreme weather and climate events.

  • This is the first study to find a climate change footprint in heat deaths across broad regions of the globe, but it does not include data from some areas in Asia and Africa that are seeing the most extreme temperatures.
  • It's therefore likely that the findings represent an underestimate of the true toll of climate change-related heat.

Go deeper

Biden on extreme weather: "This is code red"

President Biden surveys damage from Hurricane Ida in Manville, New Jersey. Photo: Madnel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said climate change and increasing extreme weather are a "code red," while surveying Hurricane Ida's devastation in New York and New Jersey on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Ida left more than 60 dead and caused "double-digit billion economic damage toll" in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast according to a report from insurance broker Aon, showing the increasing impact of human-caused climate change.

Latino farmworkers more likely to die from extreme heat

Fernando Llerenas drinks water while picking pears in Hood River, Oregon, on Aug. 13. Photo: Michael Hanson/AFP via Getty Images

Farmworkers are 20 times more likely than other outdoor workers to die from the extreme heat that has gripped much of the U.S., and Latinos make up around 75% of farmworkers in the U.S.

Why it matters: In the U.S., extreme heat kills more people each year than floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, per the National Weather Service. About 700 people die from heat-related illnesses each year.

Over 230 medical journals: Climate crisis is the "greatest" health threat

Floodwaters remain in Helmetta, New Jersey, on Aug. 22 following flash flooding as Tropical Storm Henri swept through. Nearly 1 in 3 Americans have experienced a weather disaster since June —  showing the extent to which climate change is impacting people's daily lives. Photo: Tom Brenner/AFP via Getty Images

Global warming is affecting people's health — and world leaders need to address the climate crisis now as it can't wait until the COVID-19 pandemic is over, editors of over 230 medical journals warned Sunday evening.

Why it matters: This is the first time so many publications have come together to issue such a joint statement to world leaders, underscoring the severity of the situation — with the Lancet and the British Medical Journal among those issuing the warning.