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Climate Change, Data and Health: Extreme Weather Events

Posted by on September 15th, 2023 Posted in: Blog
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This post is part of a semi-regular series looking at climate change, data and health. Future posts will cover such topics as extreme heat, vector borne diseases and more. The first post covered the basics of Climate Change, Data and Health.

Each post will include information on data sources, how the topic affects health, and adaptation and preparedness resources.

What is climate change?

From NASA’s Climate Kids: “Climate change describes a change in the average conditions — such as temperature and rainfall — in a region over a long period of time. NASA scientists have observed Earth’s surface is warming, and many of the warmest years on record have happened in the past 20 years.”

Cambio climático evidencia, causas y efectos (NASA)

What is extreme weather?

“Over the past decade, research has demonstrated that climate change due to global warming has made many extreme events more likely, more intense, longer-lasting, or larger in scale than they would have been without it.”- From climate.gov: What is an “extreme event”? Is there evidence that global warming has caused or contributed to any particular extreme event?

Data and Extreme Weather

Climate Change Indicators: Heavy Precipitation (EPA)

Climate Change Indicators: Tropical Cyclone Activity (EPA)

Climate Change Indicators: Drought (EPA)

Severe Storms and Extreme Events – Data Table (climate.gov-NOAA)

US Climate Extreme Index (National Centers for Environmental Information-NOAA) summarizing and presenting a complex set of multivariate and multidimensional climate changes in the United States so that the results could be easily understood and used in policy decisions made by nonspecialists in the field.

U.S. Drought Monitor (en español Monitor de Sequía de los Estados Unidos) is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Extreme Weather and Health

“Weather extremes can have adverse effects on human health, including concerns from severe heat and cold. Storms and harsh conditions, such as hurricanes and droughts, can create secondary dangers, including floods and wildfires.” –National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences-Extreme Weather

Other health concerns from extreme weather include mold exposure and drinking water contamination from floods, power outages that can affect medical equipment from large storms, and food and water scarcity caused by droughts.

MedlinePlus Health Topics Pages:

Mudslides and Landslides (CDC) (Deslizamientos de tierra y aludes de barro)

Preparedness Resources

Sever weather preparedness resources from Ready.gov:

Addressing Fugitive Chemical Health Risks Through Community-based Actions Study aims to empower communities to address risks from chemical releases due to storm surges and flooding.

Protect food and water during hurricanes and other storms (FDA)

Preparing for Extreme Weather (NACCHO) resources for local health departments.

Image of the author ABOUT Sarah Levin-Lederer

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NNLM Region 7
University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
(508) 856-5985

This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School.

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