Colder ‘Climate Change’ Blamed for Excess Deaths in World War I
From the American Geophysical Union.
WASHINGTON—Scientists have spotted a once-in-a-century climate anomaly during World War I that likely increased mortality during the war and the influenza pandemic in the years that followed.
Well-documented torrential rains and unusually cold temperatures affected the outcomes of many major battles on the Western Front during the war years of 1914 to 1918. Most notably, the poor conditions played a role in the battles of Verdun and the Somme, during which more than one million soldiers were killed or wounded.
The bad weather may also have exacerbated the Spanish flu pandemic that claimed 50 to 100 million lives between 1917 and 1919, according to the new study. Scientists have long studied the spread of the H1N1 influenza strain that caused the pandemic, but little research has focused on whether environmental conditions played a role.
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