Heat-related deaths are an issue across Washington state, and they occur even in regions that typically have milder climates, according to a University of Washington study published Aug. 30 in the journal Atmosphere. This is the most extensive study yet of heat-related mortality in Washington state, and the first to look beyond the major population centers to include rural areas.

Statewide, the odds of dying were on average 8% higher in recent decades on days when the combination of temperature and humidity, known as the humidex, was in the top 1% of recorded values at that location, compared to a day with a mid-range value for humidex.

“This study shows that heat-related mortality, even in a temperate area like Washington state, is a current environmental public health problem,” said lead author Logan Arnold, who did the work as a UW master’s student in quantitative ecology and resource management. “It’s not a future public health problem that will exist in a warming climate — it’s something that we are already experiencing now.”

Read the full article about heat-related deaths at Environmental News Network.