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Special Issue "Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation"

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A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2010)

Special Issue Editors

Associate Editor
Dr. P. Grady Dixon

Department of Geosciences, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS 67601, USA
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Pablo Fernández De Arróyabe (Website)

Climate and Health Commission at the ISB, University of Cantabria, Professor at the Geography Department, Santander 39005, Spain
Interests: biometeorology; health warning systems based on meteorological parameters; the use of GIS on Biometeorology and medical geography
Editorial Advisor
Prof. Dr. Laurence S. Kalkstein (Website)

University of Miami, Geography and Regional Studies, Antonio Ferre Building, 1000 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33124-2221, USA
Interests: climate-health relationships; climate-organism relationships; synoptic climatology; climate indices

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It has been known for centuries that climatic conditions affect human health in many different ways. The relationships between human health and climate have become especially important in the last decades. Global climate change, regional weather extremes, and large-scale epidemics are generating international interest in the effects of climate on human health and mortality.

This special issue is focused on all aspects of how weather and climate variability interact with human health. The editors encourage submissions that address novel theories and methods, those that question previously-reported ideas, and those that use prior results to predict possible future scenarios.

Prof. Dr. Pablo Fernández de Arróyabe
Guest Editor

Related MDPI Journal


Sustainability

Keywords

  • emerging diseases in new environments
  • vector-borne diseases
  • health warning systems based on meteorological forecasts
  • the use of bio-meteorological indexes
  • extreme climatic events and sanitary consequences
  • interaction between climate, air pollution, and health
  • weather variability and mental illnesses
  • deprivation index, welfare, and climate change, among others

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Estimating the Economic Impact of Climate Change on Cardiovascular Diseases—Evidence from Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(12), 4250-4266; doi:10.3390/ijerph7124250
Received: 28 September 2010 / Revised: 26 November 2010 / Accepted: 3 December 2010 / Published: 17 December 2010
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (356 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main purpose of this study was to investigate how climate change affects blood vessel-related heart disease and hypertension and to estimate the associated economic damage. In this paper, both the panel data model and the contingent valuation method (CVM) approaches are [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this study was to investigate how climate change affects blood vessel-related heart disease and hypertension and to estimate the associated economic damage. In this paper, both the panel data model and the contingent valuation method (CVM) approaches are applied. The empirical results indicate that the number of death from cardiovascular diseases would be increased by 0.226% as the variation in temperature increases by 1%. More importantly, the number of death from cardiovascular diseases would be increased by 1.2% to 4.1% under alternative IPCC climate change scenarios. The results from the CVM approach show that each person would be willing to pay US$51 to US$97 per year in order to avoid the increase in the mortality rate of cardiovascular diseases caused by climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessArticle Relation between Temperature and Mortality in Thirteen Spanish Cities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(8), 3196-3210; doi:10.3390/ijerph7083196
Received: 26 June 2010 / Revised: 28 July 2010 / Accepted: 6 August 2010 / Published: 11 August 2010
Cited by 32 | PDF Full-text (1758 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study we examined the shape of the association between temperature and mortality in 13 Spanish cities representing a wide range of climatic and socio-demographic conditions. The temperature value linked with minimum mortality (MMT) and the slopes before and after the [...] Read more.
In this study we examined the shape of the association between temperature and mortality in 13 Spanish cities representing a wide range of climatic and socio-demographic conditions. The temperature value linked with minimum mortality (MMT) and the slopes before and after the turning point (MMT) were calculated. Most cities showed a V-shaped temperature-mortality relationship. MMTs were generally higher in cities with warmer climates. Cold and heat effects also depended on climate: effects were greater in hotter cities but lesser in cities with higher variability. The effect of heat was greater than the effect of cold. The effect of cold and MMT was, in general, greater for cardio-respiratory mortality than for total mortality, while the effect of heat was, in general, greater among the elderly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessArticle Climate Change and Mortality in Vienna—A Human Biometeorological Analysis Based on Regional Climate Modeling
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(7), 2965-2977; doi:10.3390/ijerph7072965
Received: 10 June 2010 / Revised: 8 July 2010 / Accepted: 9 July 2010 / Published: 21 July 2010
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (494 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The potential development of heat-related mortality in the 21th century for Vienna (Austria) was assessed by the use of two regional climate models based on the IPCC emissions scenarios A1B and B1. Heat stress was described with the human-biometeorological index PET (Physiologically [...] Read more.
The potential development of heat-related mortality in the 21th century for Vienna (Austria) was assessed by the use of two regional climate models based on the IPCC emissions scenarios A1B and B1. Heat stress was described with the human-biometeorological index PET (Physiologically Equivalent Temperature). Based on the relation between heat stress and mortality in 1970–2007, we developed two approaches to estimate the increases with and without long-term adaptation. Until 2011–2040 no significant changes will take place compared to 1970–2000, but in the following decades heat-related mortality could increase up to 129% until the end of the century, if no adaptation takes place. The strongest increase occurred due to extreme heat stress (PET ≥ 41 °C). With long-term adaptation the increase is less pronounced, but still notable. This encourages the requirement for additional adaptation measurements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessArticle Impact of Climate Change on Ambient Ozone Level and Mortality in Southeastern United States
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(7), 2866-2880; doi:10.3390/ijerph7072866
Received: 7 June 2010 / Revised: 1 July 2010 / Accepted: 9 July 2010 / Published: 14 July 2010
Cited by 30 | PDF Full-text (575 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is a growing interest in quantifying the health impacts of climate change. This paper examines the risks of future ozone levels on non-accidental mortality across 19 urban communities in Southeastern United States. We present a modeling framework that integrates data from [...] Read more.
There is a growing interest in quantifying the health impacts of climate change. This paper examines the risks of future ozone levels on non-accidental mortality across 19 urban communities in Southeastern United States. We present a modeling framework that integrates data from climate model outputs, historical meteorology and ozone observations, and a health surveillance database. We first modeled present-day relationships between observed maximum daily 8-hour average ozone concentrations and meteorology measured during the year 2000. Future ozone concentrations for the period 2041 to 2050 were then projected using calibrated climate model output data from the North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program. Daily community-level mortality counts for the period 1987 to 2000 were obtained from the National Mortality, Morbidity and Air Pollution Study. Controlling for temperature, dew-point temperature, and seasonality, relative risks associated with short-term exposure to ambient ozone during the summer months were estimated using a multi-site time series design. We estimated an increase of 0.43 ppb (95% PI: 0.14–0.75) in average ozone concentration during the 2040’s compared to 2000 due to climate change alone. This corresponds to a 0.01% increase in mortality rate and 45.2 (95% PI: 3.26–87.1) premature deaths in the study communities attributable to the increase in future ozone level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessArticle Public Perceptions of Climate Change as a Human Health Risk: Surveys of the United States, Canada and Malta
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(6), 2559-2606; doi:10.3390/ijerph7062559
Received: 4 May 2010 / Revised: 3 June 2010 / Accepted: 9 June 2010 / Published: 14 June 2010
Cited by 36 | PDF Full-text (609 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We used data from nationally representative surveys conducted in the United States, Canada and Malta between 2008 and 2009 to answer three questions: Does the public believe that climate change poses human health risks, and if so, are they seen as current [...] Read more.
We used data from nationally representative surveys conducted in the United States, Canada and Malta between 2008 and 2009 to answer three questions: Does the public believe that climate change poses human health risks, and if so, are they seen as current or future risks? Whose health does the public think will be harmed? In what specific ways does the public believe climate change will harm human health? When asked directly about the potential impacts of climate change on health and well-being, a majority of people in all three nations said that it poses significant risks; moreover, about one third of Americans, one half of Canadians, and two-thirds of Maltese said that people are already being harmed. About a third or more of people in the United States and Canada saw themselves (United States, 32%; Canada, 67%), their family (United States, 35%; Canada, 46%), and people in their community (United States, 39%; Canada, 76%) as being vulnerable to at least moderate harm from climate change. About one third of Maltese (31%) said they were most concerned about the risk to themselves and their families. Many Canadians said that the elderly (45%) and children (33%) are at heightened risk of harm, while Americans were more likely to see people in developing countries as being at risk than people in their own nation. When prompted, large numbers of Canadians and Maltese said that climate change can cause respiratory problems (78–91%), heat-related problems (75–84%), cancer (61–90%), and infectious diseases (49–62%). Canadians also named sunburn (79%) and injuries from extreme weather events (73%), and Maltese cited allergies (84%). However, climate change appears to lack salience as a health issue in all three countries: relatively few people answered open-ended questions in a manner that indicated clear top-of-mind associations between climate change and human health risks. We recommend mounting public health communication initiatives that increase the salience of the human health consequences associated with climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessArticle The Effect of High Ambient Temperature on the Elderly Population in Three Regions of Sweden
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(6), 2607-2619; doi:10.3390/ijerph7062607
Received: 11 May 2010 / Accepted: 4 June 2010 / Published: 14 June 2010
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (176 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The short-term effects of high temperatures are a serious concern in the context of climate change. In areas that today have mild climates the research activity has been rather limited, despite the fact that differences in temperature susceptibility will play a fundamental [...] Read more.
The short-term effects of high temperatures are a serious concern in the context of climate change. In areas that today have mild climates the research activity has been rather limited, despite the fact that differences in temperature susceptibility will play a fundamental role in understanding the exposure, acclimatization, adaptation and health risks of a changing climate. In addition, many studies employ biometeorological indexes without careful investigation of the regional heterogeneity in the impact of relative humidity. We aimed to investigate the effects of summer temperature and relative humidity and regional differences in three regions of Sweden allowing for heterogeneity of the effect over the scale of summer temperature. To do so, we collected mortality data for ages 65+ from Stockholm, Göteborg and Skåne from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute for the years 1998 through 2005. In Stockholm and Skåne on average 22 deaths per day occurred, while in Göteborg the mean frequency of daily deaths was 10. We fitted time-series regression models to estimate relative risks of high ambient temperatures on daily mortality using smooth functions to control for confounders, and estimated non-linear effects of exposure while allowing for auto-regressive correlation of observations within summers. The effect of temperature on mortality was found distributed over the same or following day, with statistically significant cumulative combined relative risk of about 5.1% (CI = 0.3, 10.1) per °C above the 90th percentile of summer temperature. The effect of high relative humidity was statistically significant in only one of the regions, as was the effect of relative humidity (above 80th percentile) and temperature (above 90th percentile). In the southernmost region studied there appeared to be a significant increase in mortality with decreasing low summer temperatures that was not apparent in the two more northerly situated regions. The effects of warm temperatures on the elderly population in Sweden are rather strong and consistent across different regions after adjustment for mortality displacement. The impact of relative humidity appears to be different in regions, and may be a more important predictor of mortality in some areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessArticle Satellite Derived Forest Phenology and Its Relation with Nephropathia Epidemica in Belgium
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(6), 2486-2500; doi:10.3390/ijerph7062486
Received: 17 May 2010 / Accepted: 7 June 2010 / Published: 9 June 2010
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (786 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The connection between nephropathia epidemica (NE) and vegetation dynamics has been emphasized in recent studies. Changing climate has been suggested as a triggering factor of recently observed epidemiologic peaks in reported NE cases. We have investigated whether there is a connection between [...] Read more.
The connection between nephropathia epidemica (NE) and vegetation dynamics has been emphasized in recent studies. Changing climate has been suggested as a triggering factor of recently observed epidemiologic peaks in reported NE cases. We have investigated whether there is a connection between the NE occurrence pattern in Belgium and specific trends in remotely sensed phenology parameters of broad-leaved forests. The analysis of time series of the MODIS Enhanced Vegetation Index revealed that changes in forest phenology, considered in literature as an effect of climate change, may affect the mechanics of NE transmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle Surveillance of Summer Mortality and Preparedness to Reduce the Health Impact of Heat Waves in Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(5), 2256-2273; doi:10.3390/ijerph7052256
Received: 6 April 2010 / Revised: 21 April 2010 / Accepted: 29 April 2010 / Published: 6 May 2010
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (266 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since 2004, the Italian Department for Civil Protection and the Ministry of Health have implemented a national program for the prevention of heat-health effects during summer, which to-date includes 34 major cities and 93% of the residents aged 65 years and over. [...] Read more.
Since 2004, the Italian Department for Civil Protection and the Ministry of Health have implemented a national program for the prevention of heat-health effects during summer, which to-date includes 34 major cities and 93% of the residents aged 65 years and over. The Italian program represents an important example of an integrated approach to prevent the impact of heat on health, comprising Heat Health Watch Warning Systems, a mortality surveillance system and prevention activities targeted to susceptible subgroups. City-specific warning systems are based on the relationship between temperature and mortality and serve as basis for the modulation of prevention measures. Local prevention activities, based on the guidelines defined by the Ministry of Health, are constructed around the infrastructures and services available. A key component of the prevention program is the identification of susceptible individuals and the active surveillance by General Practitioners, medical personnel and social workers. The mortality surveillance system enables the timely estimation of the impact of heat, and heat waves, on mortality during summer as well as to the evaluation of warning systems and prevention programs. Considering future predictions of climate change, the implementation of effective prevention programs, targeted to high risk subjects, become a priority in the public health agenda. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessArticle Sensitivity of Air Pollution-Induced Premature Mortality to Precursor Emissions under the Influence of Climate Change
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(5), 2222-2237; doi:10.3390/ijerph7052222
Received: 1 March 2010 / Revised: 23 April 2010 / Accepted: 29 April 2010 / Published: 5 May 2010
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (398 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The relative contributions of PM2.5 and ozone precursor emissions to air pollution-related premature mortality modulated by climate change are estimated for the U.S. using sensitivities of air pollutants to precursor emissions and health outcomes for 2001 and 2050. Result suggests that [...] Read more.
The relative contributions of PM2.5 and ozone precursor emissions to air pollution-related premature mortality modulated by climate change are estimated for the U.S. using sensitivities of air pollutants to precursor emissions and health outcomes for 2001 and 2050. Result suggests that states with high emission rates and significant premature mortality increases induced by PM2.5 will substantially benefit in the future from SO2, anthropogenic NOX and NH3 emissions reductions while states with premature mortality increases induced by O3 will benefit mainly from anthropogenic NOX emissions reduction. Much of the increase in premature mortality expected from climate change-induced pollutant increases can be offset by targeting a specific precursor emission in most states based on the modeling approach followed here. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessArticle Updating the Northern Tsetse Limit in Burkina Faso (1949–2009): Impact of Global Change
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(4), 1708-1719; doi:10.3390/ijerph7041708
Received: 22 January 2010 / Revised: 4 March 2010 / Accepted: 12 March 2010 / Published: 15 April 2010
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (761 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The northern distribution limit of tsetse flies was updated in Burkina Faso and compared to previous limits to revise the existing map of these vectors of African trypanosomiases dating from several decades ago. From 1949 to 2009, a 25- to 150-km shift [...] Read more.
The northern distribution limit of tsetse flies was updated in Burkina Faso and compared to previous limits to revise the existing map of these vectors of African trypanosomiases dating from several decades ago. From 1949 to 2009, a 25- to 150-km shift has appeared toward the south. Tsetse are now discontinuously distributed in Burkina Faso with a western and an eastern tsetse belt. This range shift can be explained by a combination of decreased rainfall and increased human density. Within a context of international control, this study provides a better understanding of the factors influencing the distribution of tsetse flies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessArticle Climate Change and Health in British Columbia: Projected Impacts and a Proposed Agenda for Adaptation Research and Policy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(3), 1018-1035; doi:10.3390/ijerph7031018
Received: 19 January 2010 / Revised: 23 February 2010 / Accepted: 2 March 2010 / Published: 11 March 2010
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (168 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This is a case study describing how climate change may affect the health of British Columbians and to suggest a way forward to promote health and policy research, and adaptation to these changes. After reviewing the limited evidence of the impacts of [...] Read more.
This is a case study describing how climate change may affect the health of British Columbians and to suggest a way forward to promote health and policy research, and adaptation to these changes. After reviewing the limited evidence of the impacts of climate change on human health we have developed five principles to guide the development of research and policy to better predict future impacts of climate change on health and to enhance adaptation to these change in BC. We suggest that, with some modification, these principles will be useful to policy makers in other jurisdictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
Open AccessArticle Hydrologic Conditions Describe West Nile Virus Risk in Colorado
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(2), 494-508; doi:10.3390/ijerph7020494
Received: 10 December 2009 / Accepted: 9 February 2010 / Published: 11 February 2010
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (1592 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We examine the relationship between hydrologic variability and the incidence of human disease associated with West Nile virus (WNV; family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus) infection (hereafter termed “human WN cases”) in Colorado from 2002 to 2007. We find that local hydrologic [...] Read more.
We examine the relationship between hydrologic variability and the incidence of human disease associated with West Nile virus (WNV; family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus) infection (hereafter termed “human WN cases”) in Colorado from 2002 to 2007. We find that local hydrologic conditions, as simulated by the Mosaic hydrology model, are associated with differences in human WN cases. In Colorado’s eastern plains, wetter spring conditions and drier summer conditions predict human WN cases. In Colorado’s western mountains, drier spring and summer conditions weakly predict human WN cases. These findings support two working hypotheses: (1) wet spring conditions increase the abundance of Culex tarsalis vectors in the plains, and (2) dry summer conditions, and respondent irrigational practices during such droughts, favor Cx. pipiens and Cx. tarsalis abundance throughout Colorado. Both of these processes potentially increase the local vector-to-host ratio, favoring WNV amplification among competent avian hosts and bridging to humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Adaptation to Impacts of Climate Change on Aeroallergens and Allergic Respiratory Diseases
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(8), 3006-3021; doi:10.3390/ijerph7083006
Received: 21 June 2010 / Revised: 21 July 2010 / Accepted: 23 July 2010 / Published: 28 July 2010
Cited by 37 | PDF Full-text (193 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change has the potential to have many significant impacts on aeroallergens such as pollen and mould spores, and therefore related diseases such as asthma and allergic rhinitis. This paper critically reviews this topic, with a focus on the potential adaptation measures [...] Read more.
Climate change has the potential to have many significant impacts on aeroallergens such as pollen and mould spores, and therefore related diseases such as asthma and allergic rhinitis. This paper critically reviews this topic, with a focus on the potential adaptation measures that have been identified to date. These are aeroallergen monitoring; aeroallergen forecasting; allergenic plant management; planting practices and policies; urban/settlement planning; building design and heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC); access to health care and medications; education; and research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health Impacts and Adaptation)

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