Climate change and human health
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Heidi E. Brown, Ph.D., M.P.H. University of Arizona School of Geography and Development College of Public Health. Climate Change and Human Health. Climate and Health. Climate-related exposures can be the direct cause of illness or death such as death from hyperthermia

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Climate Change and Human Health

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Climate change and human health

Heidi E. Brown, Ph.D., M.P.H.

University of Arizona

School of Geography and Development

College of Public Health

Climate Change and Human Health


Climate and health

Climate and Health

  • Climate-related exposures can be the direct cause of illness or death

    • such as death from hyperthermia

  • Climate-related exposures can also be a contributing cause of health problems by exacerbating an already existing medical condition

    • such as heart disease

    • or exert indirect effects, as by inducing changes in the ranges of organisms that transmit disease


Climate change health in the southwest

Climate Change & Health in the Southwest

  • More heat waves and urban warming

  • Longer and more severe ozone seasons

  • Increased pollen allergen production w/ earlier season start

  • Fungus/mold growth due to swings in precip/temp extremes

  • Risk of water-borne pathogens via flooding and higher water temperatures

  • Higher rainfall variability moderating rodent-borne diseases

  • Marginal shifts in mosquito vector ranges, but w/ potential population impact


Extreme events

Extreme Events

Heat Related Deaths – Chicago

Maximum Temperature and Heat Index

July 11 -23, 1995

http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/nationalassessment/LargerImages/SectorGraphics/Health/HeatDeaths.jpg


Air quality

Air Quality

  • Rising temps increase concentrations of ozone and possibly PM2.5

    • Longer, more severe ozone season

    • Breathing problems, airway inflammation

http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/nationalassessment/LargerImages/SectorGraphics/Health/Ozone.jpg


Water food borne disease

Water- & Food-borne Disease

  • Effects of precipitation & temperature

  • Natural flooding and fecal bacteria (E. Coli)

  • Temperature increases and Salmonella cases

# Salmonella cases/month

Ave. monthly temp (°C)

http://www.niwascience.co.nz/pubs/wa/12-2/images/flood2_large.jpg

http://www.who.int/globalchange/climate/en/fig4.2.gif


Wildfires

Wildfires

  • Smoke exposure associated with respiratory and eye symptoms, increased ER visits

  • Loss of property/home,

  • Increased mudslide risk

Wallow Wildfire, 2011

Credit: Brent Watcher IMET National Weather Service/US Forest Service


Conclusions

Conclusions

  • Natural and human systems are complex

  • Warmer & more extreme climate shifts will lead to direct health impacts and exacerbate pre-existing conditions.

  • Effects will be mediated by social & ecological factors

    • Disadvantaged population bear greater burden

  • New work on co-benefits

    • Climate change mitigation policies that provide ancillary health benefits


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