Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Climate Change’ Category

“Climate change has been linked to changes in Atlantic hurricane behavior, making storms more destructive to the built environment and vital infrastructure, more harmful to the physical and mental health of island-based and coastal populations, and more deadly in their aftermath…”


“Climate change has been linked to changes in Atlantic hurricane behavior, making storms more destructive to the built environment and vital infrastructure, more harmful to the physical and mental health of island-based and coastal populations, and more deadly in their aftermath.1 These escalating effects on population health represent a double environmental injustice: socioeconomically disadvantaged and marginalized populations sustain disproportionate harm and loss, with more hazardous storms exacerbating the inequity; and while the populations most vulnerable to Atlantic hurricanes, especially those in small-island states, contribute virtually nothing to climate change,2 they are among those most exposed to risks that are worsened by the carbon emissions from higher-income countries.2

Anthropogenic climate change amplifies storm hazards through such intermediaries as anomalously warm ocean and air temperatures, rising ocean heat content, and increasing atmospheric moisture capacity, compounded by a rise in sea levels. Atlantic hurricanes have become stronger, wetter, and slower-moving over the past few decades, with likely contributions from human actions….”

Climate change & wildfires

Wildfires are getting worse, and so is the deadly smoke they bring with them

Climate change is increasing the size, frequency, intensity and seasonality of wildfires. Climate scientists have already identified the telltale climate fingerprints on some of the biggest blazes of the past decade:
• Climate change has already increased the frequency of fire weather — hot, dry, and windy — in much of the U.S. (Abatzoglou, Williams, and Barbero 2018).
• Climate change has doubled the area burned in the Western United States (Abatzoglou and Williams 2016).
• The fire season has increased by more than two months in the Western United States, largely due to climate change (Westerling et al. 2006).
All fire needs to burn is an ignition source and plenty of fuel. While climate change might not ignite the fire, it is giving fires the chance to turn into catastrophic blazes by creating warmer temperatures, increasing the amount of fuel (dried vegetation) available, and reducing water availability by earlier snowmelt and higher evaporation. These infernos have dire consequences – from respiratory illness to loss of life and property, many communities are not equipped to deal with this new era of mega fires.

United States Monthly Drought Outlook

Climate-related disasters have been the number 1 reason for internal displacement in the past decade

An Oxfam report painted a bleak picture of the damage already done

People living in small island developing states are 150X more likely to be displaced by extreme weather than people living in Europe.


Forced from home: climate-fuelled displacement

Pastoralist communities in the Somalia region

Publication date: 2 December 2019
Author: Oxfam

Climate-fuelled disasters were the number one driver of internal displacement over the last decade – forcing an estimated 20 million people a year from their homes. While no one is immune, it is overwhelmingly poor countries that are most at risk. Eighty percent of those displaced in the last decade live in Asia, home to over a third of the world’s poorest people.

Small island developing states make up seven of the 10 countries that face the highest risk of internal displacement as a result of extreme weather events. These communities are 150 times more likely to be displaced by extreme weather disasters than communities in Europe. Countries from Somalia to Guatemala are seeing large numbers of people displaced by both conflict and the climate crisis.

Despite this, the international community has made little progress towards the provision of new funds to help poor countries recover from loss and damage resulting from the climate emergency. As the 2019 UN Climate Summit opens, Oxfam is calling for more urgent and ambitious emissions reductions to minimize the impact of the crisis on people’s lives, and the establishment of a new ‘Loss and Damage’ finance facility to help communities recover and rebuild.

Climate-related disasters: Looking at the numbers


Noaga Oueda in her field of sorghum, in Burkina Faso.

Let’s look at the numbers

30 Y The number of climate-related disasters has tripled in 30 years. By the 2030s, large parts of Southern, Eastern and the Horn of Africa and South and East Asia will experience greater exposure to droughts, floods and tropical storms.
20 M On average, over 20 million people a year were internally displaced by extreme weather disasters over the last 10 years. Eighty percent of those displaced live in Asia – home to over a third of the world’s poorest people.
10 % The richest 10 percent of people in the world produce around half of global emissions. The poorest half of the world’s population – 3.5 billion people – is responsible for just 10 percent of carbon emissions.
100 Just 100 companies are responsible for close to three quarters of global emissions (71 percent) and spend millions lobbying against climate action.
700 $ Between 2008 and 2018, 18 African countries have collectively suffered an annual loss of over 700$ million from climate-related disasters.

UN: The newly launched Emissions Gap Report tracks the gap between where greenhouse gas emissions are heading and where they need to be.

Learning about climate change and sustainability will soon be compulsory for all students across Italy


Map of the trend of the Palmer Drought Index from 1900 through 2002.

“…….Starting next school year, schools will be required to dedicate 33 hours per year — almost one hour per school week — to discussing the challenges of climate change,…..”

Climate Changes in the United States


Climate Changes in the United States

“According to a new U.S. Army report, Americans could face a horrifically grim future from climate change involving blackouts, disease, thirst, starvation and war. The study found that the US military itself might also collapse. This could all happen over the next two decades…..”


“…….The report, titled Implications of Climate Change for the U.S. Army, was launched by the U.S. Army War College in partnership with NASA in May at the Wilson Center in Washington DC. The report was commissioned by Gen. Milley during his previous role as the Army’s Chief of Staff……..


The two most prominent scenarios in the report focus on the risk of a collapse of the power grid within “the next 20 years,” and the danger of disease epidemics. Both could be triggered by climate change in the near-term………

The report also warns that the US military should prepare for new foreign interventions in Syria-style conflicts, triggered due to climate-related impacts. Bangladesh in particular is highlighted as the most vulnerable country to climate collapse in the world…..

“The permanent displacement of a large portion of the population of Bangladesh would be a regional catastrophe with the potential to increase global instability,” the report warns. “This is a potential result of climate change complications in just one country. Globally, over 600 million people live at sea level.”

Sea level rise, which could go higher than 2 meters by 2100 according to one recent study, “will displace tens (if not hundreds) of millions of people, creating massive, enduring instability,” the report adds……..

Annual Temperature Anomoly

Annual Temperature vs Average


“…..Climate change will lead to more wildfires nationwide as hotter temperatures dry out plants, making them easier to ignite. ….”


“…….Many residents in Northern California faced a twin threat on Thursday: fires, but also the deliberate power outages meant to mitigate the blazes. Both the Kincade fire and a small fire that ignited Thursday morning, the Spring fire, occurred in or near areas where the state utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, had turned off the power.

The fires “brought out some longer standing institutional issues around equity,” Mr. Gossman said. Critics say electricity cutoffs disproportionately harm low-income people who cannot afford solar and battery backup systems or gas-based generators, as well as sick and disabled people who rely on electricity to run life-saving medical equipment……”

MA coastline change with climate change over the past couple of decades

June 12, 1984  June, 1984


June 12, 1984 July, 2019





J-IDEA, the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics will rapidly respond to emergencies such as epidemics, extreme climate events, and natural and humanitarian disasters.

Imperial College

“…..J-IDEA will tackle crises, such as Ebola and MERS, alongside longer-term global priorities, including the impact of climate change on health, using cutting-edge data science and public health research to deliver policy insights.

The new institute brings together the world’s foremost epidemiologists, biostatisticians, medics and data scientists as they break down barriers between academic expertise and on-the-ground impact. ….”


“……J-IDEA brings together over 200 researchers working on global health within Imperial College’s School of Public Health. Partnering with governments and international institutions, J-IDEA advances methods and real-world application of data analytics to identify and support effective actions and high priority investments into population health globally – both in responding to crises but also in identifying the cross-cutting investments which will build strong and resilient health systems better able to meet future health challenges and threats…..”


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