Summer deaths: How to ignore most variables and a great trend and still blame climate change

This might be one of the most incompetent studies of 2o21

Hanigan, Dear and Woodward have done a “unique”, first of, *groundbreaking study* that finally shows climate change is having a detrimental effect on our health (so they say). With great effort to ignore almost every variable that mattered, they found the seasonal ratio of deaths in Australia has changed:

More people die in winter than summer, but climate change may see this reverse

In our study published today, we show some of the first evidence climate change has had observable impacts on Australians’ health between 1968 and 2018.

We found long-term heating is associated with changed seasonal balance of deaths in Australia, with relatively more deaths in summer months and relatively fewer deaths in winter months over recent decades.

Our findings can be explained by the gradual global warming associated with climate change. Over the 51 years of our study, annual average temperatures increased by more than 1°C in Australia. The last decade (2011 to 2020) was the hottest in the country’s recorded history.

The other interpretation is that it got warmer and deaths in winter declined more than deaths in summer did.

Basically if climate change does anything, it’s saving us from even more deaths in cold weather. Three cheers for fossil fuels.

The climate trend is unequivocal: The hotter it got the longer we lived

Looks like climate change saves lives even in hot sunny Australia:

Life expectancy at birth, Australia.

Source: Macrotrends

But Hanigan et al miss the obvious and work pretty hard to find that the slope of the summer deaths (diamonds) below is rising slightly faster than the winter deaths (squares).  Panic now. That’s how bad climate change is (and that how overfunded our universities are.)

Seasonal mortality in Australia. Climate Change. Graph.

Here’s another awkward fact: Heatwave deaths in Australia peaked around World War I?

Heatwave, deaths per decade -- Australia

Australian heatwave deaths peaked around World War I. Source: PerilAUS

Even in the deadly decade of 2000 to 2009, heatwave deaths were less than 0.5% of total deaths. That scary last column is not the big killer you might think.

“Our research is unique

“Globally, our study is one of very few that directly shows the health impacts of climate change.

Instead their study directly shows what a waste of money higher education is:

In our study, we used Australian mortality records that have been collected with remarkable consistency of detail and quality over the last half century. And by focusing on the ratio of summer to winter deaths within each year, we avoid possible confounding associated with, say, improvements to health care.

So they avoided the confounding factor of “improvements in health care” but completely forgot that people predominantly died of different things in 1968 — like especially heart failure and influenza, both more common in winter. Lately, the increase in deaths due to Alzheimers and dementia spread those fatal events across the year. This one factor alone probably explains the minor trend they found.

They haven’t found a climate change effect at all, it’s just the effect of a changing pattern of diseases:

Winter Cardio vascular deaths

Many more people die of cardiovascular deaths in winter rather than summer.  Barnett et al 2008

Ischemic heart disease is surprisingly more of a winter disease. There’s less sun, less vitamin D, room temperatures are colder, blood pressure goes up, and inflammation is more likely and makes everything worse. Nothing kills as many people as moderate cold.

For a second, the researchers even have to admit that more climate change might save more lives  (and we can’t have that!):

In one study on the topic, the authors found Australia may initially experience a net reduction in temperature-related deaths. That is, increased deaths from heat during summer would be offset by fewer deaths in winter, as winters become more mild.

What do you know: models arrive to rescue the doomer narrative:

However, they predict this pattern would reverse by mid-century under the business-as-usual emissions scenario.

Just one more irrelevant discovery:

We found the speed of change in the ratio of summer to winter deaths was fastest in the hottest years within each decade.

So on long term rising trends for both temperatures and deaths, what’s the bet that the last years of each decade are more likely to be both hotter and more deadly? Shock me.

This paper is more evidence that it takes ineptitude to have a good career in science these days. Being sensible is a handicap.

Who gave them their grant money?


h/t Eric Worrall, WUWT. 


Barnett et al (2008) The seasonality in heart failure deaths and total cardiovascular deaths, Aust and NZ Journal of Public Health, vol 32, no 5.

Ivan C. Hanigan , Keith B.G. Dear, Alistair Woodward (2021)  Increased ratio of summer to winter deaths due to climate warming in Australia, 1968–2018, 26 April 2021  PDF 

ABS:[email protected]/0/b066d450abaaa4c7ca256dea000539dc

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54 comments to Summer deaths: How to ignore most variables and a great trend and still blame climate change

  • #
    Wet Mountains

    I retired at age 70 ½ last January and have since watched more TV than I ever have. I try to watch educational TV, programing I can learn something from. Last week I learned that after occurring for millions of years, scientists have discovered that sinkholes are the result of global warming and weather is now unpredictable for the same reason. This morning while watching Aerial America Colorado I learned that the Colorado River flows into the Gulf of Mexico. At this rate I will be illiterate by the time I am 80.


  • #

    In my 15 years of closely observing the Global Warming Narrative I have rarely seen trivial statistics so ruthlessly tortured as they have been by this paper in order to arrive at the conclusion that “ the dominant burden of mortality will be the warmest time of the year and that health services (etc) must NOW start to adjust to this prospect”. Simple extension of the trend indicates that this process will take 100 YEARS. All this is due to a temperature increase of 0.02 c per annum. Extending the 50 year trends like this indicate that the average age of death then will be 114! With that average what the MAXIMUM will be beggars belief, god forbid that it be me.
    One intriguing fact though emerges from the graph of “Heat Wave Deaths”. What the hell happened in the decade 2000/09?
    This is an 8* anomaly! I suspect that is a consequence of reclassification and the “Risk Frontier” reference hints at a BOM action but it requires payment to find out . Anyone there recall punters dropping like flies in that decade?,


  • #

    I thought the obvious answer is people in Australia are getting fatter and older than they used to be = less healthy, just like in the US. But that didn’t sound very sophisticated, so I used Google for about one minute, and got some supporting data to cut and paste here.:

    “When comparing the proportion of obese men and women across OECD countries, Australia had the 2nd highest proportion of obese men (32%), behind the United States (38%). The proportion of obese women in Australia was 8th highest out of 23 countries (29%)—higher than the OECD average of 25% for women.”

    “The median age (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) of the Australian population has increased by 2 years over the last two decades, from 35 years at 30 June 1999 to 37 years at 30 June 2019.”

    For a government grant of at least $10,000, I will do a study that proves climate change causes headaches … from leftists constantly bellowing about their imaginary coming climate crisis, which gives me headaches all the time. Not from the slightly warmer weather — I like warmer weather.


  • #

    [Off Topic]AD


  • #
    Travis T. Jones

    “More people die in winter than summer, but climate change may see this reverse”

    … and Bill Gates may give me a million dollars.

    But seriously, Science! Settled. 97%! –

    23 April, 2021: “Right now, we’re in the phase of an 18.6-year lunar cycle that lessens the moon’s influence on the oceans.

    The result can make it seem like the coastal flooding risk has leveled off, and that can make sea level rise less obvious.

    But communities shouldn’t get complacent.

    Global sea level is still rising with the warming planet, and that 18.6-year cycle will soon be working against us.”

    Wait. What?

    Did someone anyone puzzled NASA/NOAA blame the supermoon in 2010/2011 unpredicted deadly Australian flooding?

    No, no they didn’t …

    Australian floods of 2010 and 2011 caused global sea level to drop

    Puzzled oceanographers who wondered where the sea level rise went for 18 months now have their answer – it went to Australia

    March 16, 2011: Mark your calendar.
    On March 19th, a full Moon of rare size and beauty will rise in the east at sunset.
    It’s a super “perigee moon”–the biggest in almost 20 years.

    “The last full Moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1993,” says Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC. “I’d say it’s worth a look.”

    2010: ‘Supermoon’ Rises: Biggest Full Moon in 18 Years Occurs Saturday Night

    Photo: “The dazzling full moon sets behind the Very Large Telescope in Chile’s Atacama Desert in this photo released June 7, 2010 by the European Southern Observatory”

    “In addition, the near coincidence of Saturday’s full moon with perigee will result in a dramatically large range of high and low ocean tides.

    The highest tides will not, however, coincide with the perigee moon but will actually lag by up to a few days depending on the specific coastal location.”

    Well. That’s 97% settled.
    Is there nothing carbon (sic) can’t do?
    And only a carbon (sic) tax, a solar panel, a windmill and redistribution of your money by the UN will stop it.


  • #
    John R Smith

    Perhaps medical institutions should receive additional funds from the government for each death attributed to climate change.


  • #

    How long did these 3 — Hanigan, Dear and Woodward — spend on their thesis to have it knocked out overnight by our Jo?


    • #

      Publish or perish? Too many people doing stupid PhD’s these days – or too many stupid people doing PhD’s. Maybe these “academic experts” are well known in certain circles – I don’t know. When science is qualified by maybes and might’s and could be type stuff you just know that they really know little. A unique study? Nah.


      • #

        In the medical caper, having PhD in your list of ‘letters’ is always well regarded. So they do a PhD on whatever their supervising professor wants researched for free.


  • #

    Jo – thanks for posting.

    This is the typical Leftist “science” in action.
    We create a hypothesis around one of the Leftist “pillars” of idiocy (in this case climate change – a misnomer as the climate always changes… but lets stay on topic)

    Then the Leftists go around trying to find evidence of said hypothesis, but critically, any evidence contrary is buried, not considered, waved away as incorrect etc. Only “reliable” sources (read other Leftists) are considered. And if you don’t find the evidence then just make it up (homogenisation, data tampering or outright lying) or just wing it with opinion based on nothing but suppositions and personal views.

    Now run it round your other friendly Leftist “academics” and have a “peer review” (said peers are your mates or have no idea about the area of study but like the politically correct vibe – and there is no international or Australian standard on peer review, so its a complete joke and open to severe abuse) and suddenly everybody gives it the big tick.

    And all the media and other Leftists swoon over the “settled science” and attack any decent scientists or others who dare point out the utter falseness and wrong being perpetrated.

    This can only end extraordinarily badly…


    • #
      Kalm Keith

      Ending badly?;
      if we look at the U.S. and Britain there’s little doubt that they’ve arrived.

      Then, from La France, being acceptably gender specific, there’s news today that twenty retired French Generals are concerned enough about their country to suggest that they might need to come in and “help” their President Macron find his way through the current disarray.

      Maybe the beginning of the end is approaching.



      • #

        I knew the French could do it. Better than the 4th Republic. I liked the picture of a soldier with a Francesca draped over his shoulder.


  • #

    Funny that. We used to say correlation does not imply causation – a valid statement. Now it is clear there is very little correlation between CO2 and global warming. So the alarmists have to rely on other bogus factors. What is so sad and alarming is the fact that we have so many politicians in both major parties going along with the scam. Not good!


    • #

      My research has found that 98.734% of all drivers involved in serious road crashes held valid drivers licenses. So I can only conclude that holding a valid drivers license greatly increases your chance of having a bad road accident.


  • #

    That histogram is really scary. A ten fold increase in heat-related deaths in just two decades!!!


  • #
    Kalm Keith

    No further comment needed.

    Another pertinent post from our host; it brings out detail of the abuse of national resources under the pretense of governance and education.


    • #

      Too diplomatic. Call a spade a spade. Politicians in both major parties and the teaching fraternity are telling lies to us. In any other line of business involving billions of our money, the perpetrators would be charged and found guilty of a major crime and imprisoned for life.


      • #
        Kalm Keith

        We have to get around the problem of kickback if you point out wrong behavior.

        Apparently in the U.S. Rudi Giuliani has been raided by the FBI and that seems to have been linked to his attempts to examine the activities of OBidens son in Ukraine.

        Step out of line and you’ll be crushed by the Furious Biden Imposteurs.


        • #

          In an interview with Tucker he said the warrant was for all electronic devices but when he tried to give then the Hunter drives they weren’t interested.


  • #
    John F Hultquist

    “The other interpretation is that it got warmer and deaths in winter declined more than deaths in summer did.”

    I wonder if these writers have ever seen lectures by Richard Feynman.
    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.

    And something, such as: If you haven’t considered alternatives, and discarded them, you are not a scientist.

    Anyone know this one? Source and wording, please.


  • #

    This is what happens when you start a study having already written the conclusion. You then need to fit the data in such a way that it allows you to maintain the narrative. How does this reconcile with charts that show climate related deaths have plunged over the same time period. What advances have been made in the provision of electricity and what has been the uptake and advances in air conditioning. The left are becoming so desperate to continue to support a debunked narrative they are just sounding more ridiculous and untruthful. A recent rant by Cortez where she raved on about climate change causing racism ( or vice versa) highlighted that they have run out of ideas of how to find real facts and data that support their narrative. It’s basically now just a religious ( cult) belief system, which in reality it always was.


    • #

      “This is what happens when you start a study having already written the conclusion.” Zig, that quote has just gone onto my list of classics. So true.

      I often hear ‘scientists’ proudly describing how they went about their research effectively doing what a prosecution lawyer would do – looking for and presenting only the evidence that supports the case for the prosecution. Great if you’re a lawyer trying to get me jailed for being a pervert, but rubbish if you’re a scientist looking for the truth.


  • #

    Starting from 1980 and that trend line is halved. The world barely warmed from 1950 to 1980. It was global cooling scare back then.

    Is a few percent difference significant? Car deaths in Australia dropped by 2000 since 1980. There are 3 times the people over 65 since 1977.

    The main driver of this decline was an 85% fall in coronary heart disease deaths between 1968 and 2015, from 428 to 66 deaths per 100,000 population.

    Death from CHD is significantly higher in winter in Australia. The same article suggest that 200 000 more deaths per year if not for advances in dealing with it, as much as the total fatalities per year. 10% more in winter than summer and that is, roughly, 10 000 more deaths in winter than summer if CHD deaths were like they were in 1968. As it turns out, winter deaths now are 40 000 and 5 000 more than summer, barely different to the 80s. If we had 1968 death rates for CHD, winter deaths would be something like 15 000 more than summer, a 3 fold increase in difference, and a trend of 1000 more since the 80s is significant?


  • #
    el gordo

    Looking at the death stats, during the Gleissberg Minimum (early 20th century) it was very hot in Australia, while the warm PDO and great climate shift of 1976 seemed to cool us off. The advent of air conditioning must have played a part, but there maybe something else which has momentarily escaped me.


    • #

      other things apart from aircon and other temperature control tech in houusing.

      quality of health care
      a healthier population from the quality of nutritian when growing up, less harsh working conditions
      less direct exposure to heat (also manual labour conditions)


  • #
    Tony Dique

    So they’ve made an observational study and claimed causality. That is APPALLINGLY bad science and should never have been published. At BEST, they may formulate a hypothesis, which they can then go on to test. They claim to have controlled confounding errors in an observational analysis – and then establish causality. They can’t control confounding errors in a study like this. Jo is absolutely correct. Here’s another explanation: very old people survive one more winter because it was not quite as cold, but survive merely to die that summer – because they are very old. As for the claim “Australian mortality records that have been collected with remarkable consistency of detail and quality over the last half century”, let me tell you: the only reliably accurate data (excluding name, address etc) in a death certificate is the date of death. Cause of death, associated morbidities? Good luck. I should know; I write and read them routinely. This is very poor quality research, which unfortunately will be used to sway political and public opinion.


  • #
    Kalm Keith

    I suspect that next week there’ll be a “study” designed to give us an update on the dangerous of the diurnal temperature cycle.

    Here in NovoCastria temperatures sit at an acceptable 10°C overnight, but this rapidly escalates to 22°C by midday.

    The thermal shock is particularly difficult for young people and an urgent study is essential if we are to find a way through this.


  • #
    a happy little debunker

    If people wore today what they commonly wore at the turn of last century – ‘heat deaths’ would be greater today…


  • #

    There is a sinister missing aspect of this. Energy affordability amongst the lower income and pensioners.


  • #

    Lies, damn lies and statistics


  • #

    Over the last 5 years I’ve learnt a lot of new descriptors. Virtue signalling. gaslighting, doxxing etc. We need a term to describe to situation where scientists will produce a result that satisfies funding. Basically, (if I was a scientist or a group of scientists) -” Give me enough money and time and I’ll prove anything you like”. This certainly seems to be the case here with Hanigan et al. They seemed to have produced a result to match a preconceived idea. We have other scientific terms like HARKING ( Hypothesising after results known)- we need a term to describe this results bias because there will be lots more of it in the near future.


  • #
    Forrest Gardener

    I wonder whether they have any clue about the failings of their work. Or what they would do if they were made aware of those failings. And whether there is a road to the self-improvement within the scientific community. And how individual scientists can be encouraged to follow that road.

    After all, it is very hard to make people understand something when their paycheck depends on not understanding.


  • #
    Simon B

    2021 – I can hover my phone over a square of dots to tell the government I had a toasted sandwich, but I can’t click on a link telling them that I don’t want my taxes given to bogus academics to skew figures to ensure they see out their tenure in comfort! I know which of those activities has the greatest detriment to humanity, but while we’re cosseted in a cocoon of manufactured mini crises keeping us busy, these charlatans are syphoning billions to their cult.


    • #

      Can you feel that boot on your face yet?

      Mate has a job in Peru, has to apply for permission to leave the country. He has all the transit documents for the USA (to pass through an airport?) and visa for Peru and quarantine sorted, flights booked and paid for by the company.
      His application for was rejected.

      Government, their here to help


  • #

    Not even close to being a valid conclusion.

    As with the COVID pandemic, the only valid statistics are rates of death per million people. That would then show whether this trend is maintained given Australia’s recent and rapid population growth.

    But I suspect no such graphs were presented because the trend lines were declining. That would invalidate any suggestion that a warming climate increases death rates in any season. Of course, using death rates would also allow trivial demographic analysis, and highlight whether age has anything to do with changing death rates between summer and winter.

    So much potential! So little value.


    • #

      Pauly, they could have looked at deaths and climate trends on a smaller regional basis too. Instead it’s a big average. But at least they mentioned that gap in the paper.


    • #

      Pauly, the COVID death statistics, at least in the US, are NOT valid.

      Prior to 2019, flu was not considera cause of death.

      Flu might have been listed as a contributory factor, or not listed at all.

      In early 2020, our CDC changed death reporting to make flu a cause of dath for the first time — not just any flu, ONLY COVID flu.

      The underlying health problems that used to listed as a cause of death, such as heart disease or emphysema, were demoted to contributory factors.

      If the 2019 CDC methodology was used in 2020, the COVID deaths would have been estimated with a computer model by the CDC as was done for decades.

      Not from death certificate records.

      I have no idea what they would have guessed.

      Using the pre-2020 death attribution methodology, few of the excess deaths in 2020 would have been attributed to COVID.

      That seems ridiculous.

      But so many COVID deaths were nursing home patients, already in bad shape with not many years left.

      Their immune systems might not be able to fight off any flu, COVID or any other flu strain.

      Never before 2020 would their death WITH the flu, be listed as a death FROM the flu.

      Even worse, COVID can be listed as a cause of death with no PCR test (a notoriously inaccurate tyest, with many false positives) or NO FLU TEST AT ALL — just symptoms that might be COVID (or symptoms of another flu strain , or a common cold)

      So YOU may trust the flu death statistics.

      I’ve studied the US methodology and I don’t trust the numbers.

      For decades most US doctors have said CDC flu death estimates were much too high.

      I suspect that pattern continued in 2020 and 2021.

      Of course some people believe the government can always be trusted, and I’ll never change their minds.


      • #

        And we’ve already discussed the errors in Richard’s assertions on previous threads, yet it’s like those conversations never happened. Nor does he supply links above, just repeats his own assertions. The CDC used to overestimate Flu deaths through modelling and include all kinds of other pnumonia and respiratory illnesses. They inflated actual confirmed and tested flu numbers from 3k-15k annually up to a 60k “modeled death toll”. Covid is so much worse than the flu that we now have 400k people who both tested positive from Covid and died. Covid causes heart attacks and strokes, clots, and inflammation, and the excess deaths over the last five year average in the US are 20% higher in 2020 than the known covid deaths (And that is not a CDC calculation). In other words, the actual death toll to Covid in the US is at least the known death toll, and probably higher, but no one can say “by how much”. The US did not test enough for Covid.

        As I repeat, the R0 is higher, the mortality is higher, the long term damage is higher, the incubation period is longer.
        With the flu they couldn’t name the 60,000 who supposedly died of influenza. With Covid they can name all 400k who tested positive and died.


  • #

    On a positive note this could be a time to celebrate the discovery of a new nut:

    Peanut, almond, walnut, hazelnut, chestnut, macadamia and academia


  • #

    Flok…you forgot COCONUT, the answer to politician’s deliberations on CC


  • #

    Mmmm another big expensive study to say things may change. Noted.


  • #
    Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Chuckle, chuckle. ‘Climate change’. Evervbody knows that Brexit causes all these disasters! Can anyone point to any islands actually sinking? (Apart from traffick islands?) Aren’t we supposed to be doomed many times over by now?