World News – GB – A once-in-a-century climate ‘anomaly’ could have made WWI even more deadly


An unusually bad weather season may have had a significant impact on the death toll from World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, new research shows, with many more lives lost in cause of torrential rains and falling temperatures

Thanks to a detailed analysis of an ice core taken from the Italian-Swiss Alps, scientists were able to observe climate patterns across Europe between 1914 and 1919 up close, linking them for the first time to war and the pandemic

The unusually humid and cold conditions could well have contributed to the loss of more lives on the battlefield, as well as interfering with the migrating behavior of birds – potentially pushing birds and people closer to them. from each other than they otherwise would have been

“The atmospheric circulation has changed and there has been much more rain and much colder weather across Europe for six years,” says climatologist Alexander More of Harvard University “In this particular case , it was a 100-year anomaly « 

« I’m not saying this was ‘the’ cause of the pandemic, but it was certainly a potentiator, an additional aggravating factor to an already explosive situation »

Of course, accounts of excruciating conditions in the trenches of World War I are nothing new – rain and mud have been well documented What this new research does is relate these conditions to environmental models that once in a century

Traces of sea salt trapped in the ice core revealed extremely unusual inflows of air from the Atlantic Ocean and associated precipitation during the winters of 1915, 1916 and 1918 – coinciding with peaks in death rates on the European battlefield

In total, nearly 10 million servicemen are believed to have died during WWI Problems such as trench foot and frostbite were reportedly exacerbated by the constantly humid conditions, while the quagmires created on the battlefield meant that it was much more difficult to recover and rescue injured soldiers Drowning, exposure and pneumonia have claimed more lives

« We found that the association between wetter and colder conditions increased and increased mortality was particularly strong between mid 1917 and mid 1918, spanning the period from the Third Battle of Ypres to the first wave of the Spanish flu « , says archaeologist Christopher Loveluck from the University of Nottingham in the UK

In addition to making bad conditions worse for the soldiers, the researchers suggest that this climate anomaly may have played a significant role in creating the perfect environment for the H1N1 strain of flu to trigger a second wave more murderer of the Spanish flu, which broke out like war finished

This part of the research is more speculative, but the study indicates that bad weather is a reason for mallards – a main reservoir of H1N1 – to stay in Western Europe, rather than migrate to Russia as d ‘habit This would have brought them closer to the military and civilian populations already grappling with unsanitary conditions

More water would have meant faster spread of the virus as it mixed with bird droppings, researchers suggest, and possibly transmission of a more virulent strain of the flu that killed 264 million people in Europe With the world facing a pandemic and climate anomalies again today, there could be some important lessons to be learned here

World War I, Spanish flu, 1918, pandemic, flu

News from the world – GB – A climate « anomaly » sometime in a century ago could even have made World War I even More deadly



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