Weather and climate play a significant role in people’s health. Changes in global climate can affect the weather of a given area, changing the patterns and weather conditions to which people are used to. This can affect their health, immune system, and put on an extra stress on their physical conditions. People with existing health conditions, elderly and children are most vulnerable to unstable weather patterns and extreme heat and cold. Weather also affects crop yields and livestock growth, food production, and storage of food.
Did you know that the month of September, 2014 has set a new monthly global high temperature record? According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) the combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces was the highest on record for September, which was recorded at 1.30°F above the 20thcentury average of 59.0°F. The global land surface temperature was 1.60°F above the average temperature of the 20th century. Accuweather.com has said in a recent blog post that “September 2014 was the warmest September on record globally for land/ocean combined, averaging 0.77 degrees C. above the 1951-1980 global mean.
But it is not only this year that we experienced extreme heat during the summer. Records at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicate that the average global temperature has risen roughly 1.53°F, from 1880 to 2012.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) believes that “The major scientific agencies of the United States — including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — agree that climate change is occurring and that humans are contributing to it.”- Climate Change Facts: Answers to Common Questions
Scientists have reasons to believe that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come. The greenhouse gases that we have already produced have been identified as the primary cause that will keep warming the globe. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that there will be roughly a 2.5 to 10 degrees rise in the global temperature over the next 100 years, if our current carbon emissions and other natural factors stay constant, and at the current rate.
So, there is no doubt about that, the global temperature has been rising constantly with the growth of human civilization, and it has been impacting the globe negatively. The changes in temperature has affected the wildlife and their natural habitats, caused loss of species, caused migration of species or mass extinction, and loss of natural resources. It has also caused the polar ice caps to melt causing an increase in the sea levels.
How climatic changes affect our health
Climatic changes are not only bad for the planet, but they are also bad for our health and wellbeing. Research shows that climatic changes are bad for our general health.
Here are some harmful health impacts of climatic changes
1. Effects on the heart
Increase in heat, pollution and greenhouse gases have been linked directly to the hospital admissions of patients with cardiac problems. A study found that higher temperature combined with ozone may act together to worsens heart health. (livescience.com)
2. Increase allergies
Many of the developed countries including the United Sates are showing an increased rate of allergy symptoms among general people, which is in part caused by the rising levels of carbon dioxide, heat and pollution in the atmosphere. Due to the change in climate, plants are flowering earlier in the spring, increasing the total amount of pollen in the air.
3. Increased heat strokes and dehydration
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), heat wave and dehydration are the most common causes of weather-related deaths. Heat waves are more likely to impact the colder regions where people are less prepared for the warmer weather and excessive heat. Young children, older adults, people with medical conditions, and the poor are more vulnerable than others to heat-related illness.
Extreme heat, increase in greenhouse gases and pollution do not only impact the globe, but also impact our health directly. They also reduces crop production, increases energy and water requirements for food production, processing and storage industries. It has been projected by scientist that the global temperatures will continue to rise into the next century, and will have more devastating consequences if it is not kept under control.
The harmful effects of climatic change are already evident, and it needs our immediate attention. With fast growing population and increased demand for food, it has become necessary for every individual to act now, in order to reduce pollution, find alternate sources of reusable energy, and reduce our ecological footprint, so that our globe can gradually recover.
The actions we take today will impact the future of our globe, and our future generations. Each one of us can act towards sustainability and contribute to the recovery process of our globe in minimizing negative impacts and maximizing the chances of a secured future of the globe.
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