For any New York City resident with plans to go out and enjoy the upcoming warmth after the deep freeze of winter, be warned, death from overwhelming heat waves are expected to rise dramatically this summer, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

"This serves as a reminder that heat events are one of the greatest hazards faced by urban populations around the globe," stated co-author Radley Horton.

According the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average temperature on earth has risen by 1.4°F in the past century and is expected to raise another two degrees in the next 100 years.

The summer-long heat wave of 2012 was considered the most severe temperature upsurge in living memory. Swiss researchers determined that long dry spells leading to the summer months were to blame for the unusual rise in temperature.

Now researchers from Columbia University and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention are expecting a significantly higher death toll due this summer's climate spike. The research team used heat-related death rates in Manhattan from 1982 to 1999 as the basis for their statistical analysis.

Projections of temperature fluctuations were made using 16 global climate models that were down-scaled to the island of Manhattan. Their results pointed to a five or six percent increase in temperature-related deaths by 2020, 10 to 15 percent by 2050, and 30 percent by 2080, reported.

"I think this points to the need for cities to look for ways to make themselves and their people more resilient to heat," Patrick Kinney, co-author and director of Columbia Climate and Health Program, explained.

How can you protect yourself and family members from oppressive heat conditions?

  • Remember that dehydration is the leading cause of any heat-related death. Make sure you're getting enough water to suffice for your daily physical output. Checking the color of your urine is always a good self-assessment.
  • Heat stress can also be caused by too much exposure to the sun. Seek shade if you've been under the sun's heat for too long, even If you aren't experiencing exhaustion.
  • New York City authorities are already preparing for summer's heat by setting up "cooling centers," which are a great source of shelter for any city dweller to beat the heat.
  • As the summer kicks off, limit your number of outside activities and amount of time outdors. Your body needs time to acclimate to rising temperatures.
  • Senior citizens and young children have the toughest time dealing with heat exposure and may not realize their health is deteriorating from said exposure. Make sure all older adults and children are receiving enough water and spending enough time in the shade.

Source: Horton R, Kinney P, Tiantian L. Projections of Seasonal Patterns in Temperature-Related Deaths for Manhattan, New York. Nature Climate Change. 2013.