One of the main effects of climate change, that we can observe, is changes in temperature. Temperatures have now risen to 1 degree Celsius or 1.8 degree Fahrenheit since pre-industrial times, 1850s. The world has continued to become hotter under our noses, notwithstanding the health issues that come up with an increase in temperatures this high (Slingo, Julia). Hotter temperatures contribute directly to casualties concerning cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, especially amongst the older generation. This is mostly because higher temperatures raise levels of the ozone layer and other pollutants in the atmosphere such as nitrogen oxides (from engines) and oxygen (World Health Organization). An estimate of more than 70,000 deaths were recorded in Europe in 2003, caused by the summer heat wave, which, according to scientists, have been forecasted to last longer and be more frequent in the future, and they were correct (Keller, Richard C). For the 300 million people who suffer from asthma, extreme heat becomes a bigger issue. Since Pollen and aeroallergen levels become higher, aggravating the burden for people suffering with allergies or breathing problems. As the temperatures gets hotter, the loss of internal temperature control results in innumerable illnesses: heat cramps, heat strokes, hyperthermia, cardiovascular, respiratory, kidney, and cerebrovascular diseases alongside diabetes-related conditions (US Global Change Research Program). In the U.S, more than 1,300 deaths per year are due to extreme heat. However, scientists have found that rising heat temperatures contribute to more deaths than accounted for. Hot days increase the chances of pneumonia or dying from a heart attack or any other heart conditions, which are much more common than heat strokes (United States Environmental Protection Agency). Indicating just how much we underestimate the power of rising temperatures on human health, which will increase to a greater extent in the near future.
Stay tuned to learn more about how air pollution harms us!
World Health Organization. “Climate Change and Health.” Who.int, World Health Organization: WHO, 1 Feb. 2018, http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/climate-change-and-health.
Slingo, Julia. “This Is What the Earth’s Climate Will Look like in 2050.” Medium, 31 Mar. 2020, onezero.medium.com/this-is-what-the-earths-climate-will-look-like-in-2050-e4edc91be08f.
Keller, Richard C. “Perspective | Europe’s Killer Heat Waves Are a New Norm. The Death Rates Shouldn’t Be.” Washington Post, 26 July 2019, http://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/07/26/europes-killer-heat-waves-are-new-norm-death-rates-shouldnt-be/.
US Global Change Research Program. “The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment.” Globalchange.gov, 2000, pp. 1–312, health2016.globalchange.gov/.