Environmental Health Impacts of Global Climate Change : Environmental Health Impacts of Global Climate Change Crispin Pierce, Ph.D.
Environmental Public Health Program Outline: Outline Global Human Environmental Threats
Direct Human Effects
Adverse weather events
Costs of extreme weather events
Relationship Between Climate Change and Other Environmental Issues
Slide3: Associated Climate Changes and Surprises
Flooding of Low-Lying Areas
Spread of Waterborne Diseases
Climate Change and Food Production
Effects on Plant and Animal Communities
Greening of the North
Benefits of Stabilizing CO2 Concentrations
Global Human Environmental Threats: Global Human Environmental Threats Overpopulation
Global Climate Change
Loss of Biodiversity
Experimental Challenge: Experimental Challenge A reporter for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram contacts you for information on an article concerning global warming. She asks you the question, “If air and sea temperatures rise, will the melting of icebergs lead to sea level increases?” What is your response.
Use the materials in front of you (ice cubes, a graduated cylinder, and a water faucet), how would you test your answer? Direct Human Effects: Direct Human Effects Hotter, Drier Summers and Warmer, Wetter Winters
Increased Adverse Weather Events
Property and Crop Losses Quick Quiz: Quick Quiz About how many people in Europe died during the heat wave of 2003?
Heat is the primary cause of weather-related deaths. Adverse Weather Events: Adverse Weather Events Increased Sea Surface Temperatures and Greater Hurricane Intensity (Science 16 September 2005:Vol. 309. no. 5742, pp. 1844 - 1846)
Net Hurricane Power Dissipation Highly Correlated with Tropical Sea Surface Temperature (Nature advance online publication; published online 31 July 2005 | doi: 10.1038/nature03906) Slide9: Costs of Extreme Weather Events Relationship Between Climate Change and Other Environmental Issues: Relationship Between Climate Change and Other Environmental Issues The complex effects of warming of our atmosphere, water, and soil are very difficult to measure and predict.
Accumulation of evidence from many fields, such as chemistry, biology, geology, and environmental health is essential.
The accumulated evidence provides a clearer and clearer picture of what’s going on. Slide12: Associated Climate Changes Global sea-level has increased 1-2 mm/yr; in 100 years a rise in sea level between 3.5 and 34.6 in. (9-88 cm) is expected
Duration of ice cover of rivers and lakes decreased by 2 weeks in N. Hemisphere
Arctic ice has thinned substantially, decreased in extent by 10-15% Slide13: Reduced permafrost in polar, sub-polar, mountainous regions
Growing season lengthened by 1-4 days in N. Hemisphere
Retreat of continental glaciers on all continents
Snow cover decreased by 10% (reduced solar reflection)
Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2001 Report Slide14: Since 1979, the size of the summer polar ice cap has shrunk more than 20 percent.
(Illustration from NASA) (http://www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/qthinice.asp)
Slide15: Climate Surprises Slowing of the ocean thermohaline circulation
Slide16: Breakoff of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet
Slide17: Flooding of Low-Lying Coastal Areas Source: U.S. National Assessment, 2000. Slide18: Areas subjected to
Inundation with a 1 m
(~3 ft) rise in sea
level Kennedy Space
Center Miami Impact of a 1-m
rise in sea level
on low-lying areas Source:
Corell, R. W., 2004: Impacts of a warming Arctic. Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (www.acia.uaf.edu) Cambridge University Press (www.cambridge.org). Who Will be First Affected?: Who Will be First Affected? AOSIS is a coalition of small island and low-lying coastal countries, including Africa, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Pacific, South China Sea
These countries share risk factors for warming-induced disasters:
Small physical size
Surrounded by large expanses of ocean
Limited natural resources
Exposure to damaging natural disasters
Low economic diversification
Limited funds, human resources, skills
Slide21: Rising sea levels will cause
Displacement of coastal communities
Disturbance of agricultural activity
Coastal erosion, beach loss, decline in tourism
Intrusion of sea water into freshwater aquifers
Slide23: Other risks faced by AOSIS
More frequent droughts and floods
Water supply contamination
The experience of AOSIS countries is a microcosm of the global picture
Spread of Waterborne Diseases: Spread of Waterborne Diseases Malaria
Lyme Disease Evidence: the Caribbean region has experienced a marked increase in the incidence of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever in the past decade (Caribbean Epidemiology Centre - CAREC).
Climate Change and Food: Climate Change and Food The growth of crops depends on many factors, including temperature, precipitation, soil fertility, and surrounding land uses.
Extreme weather events (drought, hurricanes, floods, etc.) are very damaging to crops. The effects of more gradual affects (e.g., average temperature increase) are difficult to predict.
Developing countries will be much harder hit than developed countries, due to limited agricultural flexibility. Effects on Plant and Animal Communities: Effects on Plant and Animal Communities The effects are difficult to measure, but potentially dramatic.
Many species inhabit precisely bounded ecological niches, and so small changes in climate can cause disruptions in habitat or food availability.
In the past, mobile animals could respond to these pressures by moving from one place to another. Land development, however, has constrained and fragmented ranges and travel routes, making migration much more difficult.
Loss of key predator or prey species affects the life cycles of other organisms in the food chain. Phenology (Timing of Natural Events): Phenology (Timing of Natural Events) Evidence of earlier leafing and flowering. http://www.exploratorium.edu/climate/biosphere/data1.html Greening of the North: Greening of the North More vegetative growth in the last 20 years.
Many scientists predict greater desertification. Ranga B. Myneni, Department of Geography, Boston University Coral Bleaching: Coral Bleaching Increased sea temperatures
Increased CO2 concentrations:
http://www.awi-bremerhaven.de/Carbon/calcif.html Species Extinction: Species Extinction Extinction of the golden toad:
Over the past 30 years, the dry season in the Costa Rica’s cloud forest has become warmer and drier.
20 out of 50 species of frogs and toads have disappeared from a 30-square-kilometer study area
Toucans and other bird species have shifted their range to higher altitudes. Frog extinction in the Central and South American tropics Biological Shifts: Biological Shifts Shifts in the ranges of 35 species of non-migratory butterflies.
Decline in body weight of polar bears, resulting from early melting of sea ice and lowered food availability.
Changes in the abundance of winter songbirds in four Great Plains states
Shifts in California’s tidepools species
Reduction of phytoplankton growth in the Ross Sea that could disrupt the Antarctic food chain Stabilizing CO2 Atmospheric Levels: Stabilizing CO2 Atmospheric Levels Efficient Transportation
Sustainable Energy Sources
Sustainable Land Use
Population Stabilization References: References Exploratorium.edu
Eugene S. Takle, Iowa State University
Joan L. Aron, Vulnerability Associated with Climate Variability and Climate Change in Central America and the Caribbean
Union of Concerned Scientists
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Extra Slides: Extra Slides Scientists predict that continued global warming on the order of 2.5°-10.4°F over the next 100 years (as projected in the IPCC's Third Assessment Report) is likely to result in:
severe stress on many forests, wetlands, alpine regions, and other natural ecosystems
greater threats to human health as mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects and rodents spread diseases over larger geographical regions
disruption of agriculture in some parts of the world due to increased temperature, water stress, and sea-level rise in low-lying areas such as Bangladesh or the Mississippi River delta.