Impact of climate change on human health can be of two types.
- Direct Impacts: Increased mortality due to heat/cold waves, floods, droughts, cyclones, poisonous gases, and so on.
- Indirect Impacts: Increased health problems due to vectors, contaminated food and water, malnutrition due to reduced food production.
The diagram below summarizes some of the main pathways (both direct and indirect impacts) and categories of health impact of climate change.
Pathways by which climate change may affect human health
Source: Mc Michael et al., 2003
Various impacts of climate change and their interrelation with human health are summarized below.
Findings from Research
- Increases in malnutrition and consequent disorders, with implications for child growth and development
- Increased number of deaths, diseases, and injuries due to heat waves, floods, storms, fires, and droughts
- Increased burden of diarrhoeal disease
- Mixed effects on the range (increases and decreases) and transmission potential of malaria in Africa
- Increased frequency of cardio-respiratory diseases due to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone related to climate change
- Altered spatial distribution of some infectious-disease causing vectors
Heat Wave in Europe, 2003
In August 2003, a heat wave that emanated from...