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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Michigan: A Dangerous Future – Climate Change and Michiganders’ Health

As the world grows warmer and the region grows wetter, extreme heat and rain will cause more people to die or become ill — a costly burden in terms of lives lost and health care costs to the state of Michigan, according to a new report from the University of Michigan.

study by the University of Michigan projects deaths and emergency department visits caused by weather events during the time period 2041 to 2070 compared to a historical period of 1971 to 2000. 

Deaths from extreme heat are likely to increase from 33 deaths annually to 240 in the projected time period, the researchers report. Emergency department visits are expected to increase from 1,200 to 7,800, and hospitalizations from 28 to 185. Illness caused by extreme precipitation may increase from 170 ER visits per year to 220 visits per year.

The study, led by Dr. Carina Gronlund, a researcher at the Survey Research Center, part of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, was published in the journal Environmental Health.

“It’s important to point out that there’s a lot of uncertainty in these estimates—we cannot say there will be exactly 240 deaths,” said Dr. Gronlund, who completed the work as a researcher at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. “But this is important as a thought experiment that shows if we don’t take steps to adapt to or mitigate climate change, we should expect to see increases in extreme heat and associated mortality that are in this order of magnitude.”

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