New research found a link between rising temperatures and suicide, indicating that unchecked climate change could lead to additional 9,000 to 40,000 suicides across the United States and Mexico by 2050.
The findings by researchers at Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley were published Monday in Nature Climate Change.
“We’ve been studying the effects of warming on conflict and violence for years, finding that people fight more when it’s hot. Now we see that in addition to hurting others, some individuals hurt themselves. It appears that heat profoundly affects the human mind and how we decide to inflict harm,” said Solomon Hsiang, study co-author and associate professor at theUniversity of California, Berkeley.
Though previous research found that suicides tend to peak during warmer months but the connection has remained poorly quantified. To gather research, the team analyzed temperature and suicide data across thousands of U.S. counties and Mexican municipalities spanning several decades. Additionally, the team examined the language in more than 600 million geotagged Twitter posts, and found that, “each additional 1 ˚C in monthly average temperatures increases the likelihood of depressive language in tweets—like “lonely,” “trapped,” or “suicidal”—by as much as 1.35 percent.”
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