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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

Southwest's new climate peril

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

One of the fastest-warming regions of the U.S. is the Southwest — and that region, plus the broader West, is stuck in its most expansive and intense drought of the 21st century.

Why it matters: Studies show that a warming climate is exacerbating the drought, and in some ways may be triggering it in the first place. That means the Southwest is drying out — and California's large wildfires could start as soon as next month.

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Czech 42nd-ranked Marketa Vondrousova (L) shakes hands with Japan's Naomi Osaka after their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women's singles third round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on Tuesday. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Of note: Japan's Osaka is the women's world No. 2, while is Vondrousova ranked No.42.

Drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Kayakers at a boat launch ramp Page, Arizona, on July 3, which was made unusable by record low water levels at Lake Powell as the drought continues to worsen near. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.