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Freezing to Death on a Subtropical Island: Report from Tiawan

Lin, Y.-K., Wang, Y.-C., Lin, P.-L., Li, M.-H., and Ho, T.-J. 2013. Relationships between cold-temperature indices and all causes and cardiopulmonary morbidity and mortality in a subtropical island. Science of the Total Environment 461-462: 627-635.
In the words of Lin et al. (2013), "high temperatures have garnered considerable attention in Europe and the U.S. because of their short-term adverse health impacts." However, they say that several studies have reported that "the adverse health effects of cold temperatures may be more significant than those of high temperatures in Spain, Canada, Shanghai and Taiwan (Gomez-Acebo et al., 2010; Lin et al., 2011; Ma et al., 2011; Martin et al., 2012; Wang et al., 2012)," while also noting that "mortality risk associated with low temperatures is likely underestimated when studies fail to address the prolonged effect of low temperature (Martin et al., 2012; Mercer, 2003)."

Working with data pertaining to daily area-specific deaths from (1) all causes, (2) circulatory diseases and (3) respiratory diseases, Lin et al. developed relationships between each of them and a number of different cold-temperature related parameters for the period between 2000 and 2008. In doing so the five researchers discovered that "mortality from [1] all causes and [2] circulatory diseases and [3] outpatient visits of respiratory diseases has a strong association with cold temperatures in the subtropical island, Taiwan." In addition, they found that "minimum temperature estimated the strongest risk associated with outpatient visits of respiratory diseases."

Considering such findings, it appears that wherever one lives in the world, local minimum temperatures provide a much greater threat to human life and wellbeing than do local maximum temperatures, which suggests that global warming is considerably more beneficial for the health of the world's human population than is global cooling.

Additional Reference
Ozenda, P. and Borel, J.L. 1991. Les consequences ecologiques possibles des changements climatiques dans l'Arc alpin. Rapport Futuralp, Volume 1. ICALPE, Le Bourget-du-Lac, France.

Archived 31 December 2013