Impacts of climate change on human health

  • Created by: FerMer15
  • Created on: 27-02-18 16:50
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    • Agricultural productivity
      • Direct impacts
        • Gains
          • Crops grown in lower latitudes could become viable further north and yields could increase by 30%
          • Increased crop yields  in mid and high latitudes
          • Longer planting seasons e.g. in Russia leading to a 64 million increase in over 245 million hectares
        • Losses
          • Varying rainfall patterns e.g. a decrease in the tropics and subtropics
          • Increased heat stress on crops in arid and tropical regions
      • Indirect impacts
        • Pests and diseases:  Warmer winters reduce pest deaths
        • Sea level rise: flooding of low-lying coastal agriculture
        • Changes in water availability: irrigation water may come from distant places which are affected by climate changes
    • Vector-borne diseases may increase their range
      • Lyme disease: most common in Northern hemisphere and associated with warmer and more humid conditions
      • Dengue fever: additiional 2 billion people could be exposed to vector mosquito by 2080 due to climate change
      • West Nile Virus: outbreak in US from 1999 to 2010 resulted in more than 1900 deaths
      • Zika virus: has spread from Africa to South and Central America e.g. Brazil in 2015.
    • Nutritional standards
      • Least developed regions
        • Most vulnerable.  Unpredictable rainfall leading to floods and droughts resulting in crop failure.
        • Over reliance on crops which are less likely to fail - may lead to malnutrition
      • Developing regions
        • Tend to increase meat consumption (e.g. in China) resulting in more methane, more clearance of land for grazing thus exacerbating climate change
      • Developed regions:
        • Use of different pesticides which may affects safety and nutritional content of food
        • Increasing food prices may lead to worse diets (obesity) and increase health inequalities
    • Thermal stress
      • Heatwaves
        • Main risks are dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke, among the young, elderly and sick
        • 2003 heatwave in France resulted in 15,000 deaths
        • Lead to smogs, toxic algal blooms, odour, dust, vermin, wildfires, water shortages
      • Cold spells
        • Death rates in winter are 25% higher
        • Mainly impacts those with heart diseases and respiratory diseases
        • Climate change likely to bring milder winters thus reduce winter mortality


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