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Climate Change and Human Health in Montana


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"Climate Change and Human Health in Montana" presented by Dr. Cathy Whitlock

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Climate Change and Human Health in Montana

  1. 1. CLIMATE CHANGE & HUMAN HEALTH IN MONTANA (C2H2) Cathy Whitlock Professor of Earth Sciences Montana State University
  2. 2. HOW WILL CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECT OUR HEALTH? photo credit: Scott Bischke Credit: Patrick Record/NEWZULU
  3. 3. From US Global Change Research Program “Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States (2016)”
  4. 4. From US Global Change Research Program “Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States (2016)”
  5. 5. From US Global Change Research Program “Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States (2016)” Table 1: Current estimates and future trends in chronic health conditions that interact with the health risks associated with climate change. Health Conditions Current Estimates Future Trends Possible Influences of Climate Change Alzheimer's Disease Approximately 5 million Americans over 65 had Alzheimer's disease in 2013.33 Prevalence of Alzheimer’s is expected to triple to 13.8 million by 2050.33 Persons with cognitive impairments are vulnerable to extreme weather events that require evacuation or other emergency responses. Asthma Average asthma prevalence in the U.S. was higher in children (9% in 2014)29 than in adults (7% in 2013).34 Since the 1980s, asthma prevalence increased, but rates of asthma deaths and hospital admissions declined.35, 36 Stable incidence and increasing prevalence of asthma is projected in the U.S. in coming decades. Asthma is exacerbated by changes in pollen season and allergenicity and in exposures to air pollutants affected by changes in temperature, humidity, and wind.28 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) In 2012, approximately 6.3% of adults had COPD. Deaths from chronic lung diseases increased by 50% from 1980 to 2010.37, 38 Chronic respiratory diseases are the third leading cause of death and are expected to become some of the most costly illnesses in coming decades.37 COPD patients are more sensitive than the general population to changes in ambient air quality associated with climate change. Diabetes In 2012, approximately 9% of the total U.S. population had diabetes. Approximately 18,400people younger than age 20 were newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2008–2009; an additional 5,000 werediagnosed with type 2.39 New diabetes cases are projected to increase from about 8 cases per 1,000 in 2008 to about 15 per 1,000 in 2050. If recent increases continue, prevalence is projected to increase to 33% of Americans by 2050.40 Diabetes increases sensitivity to heat stress; medication and dietary needs may increase vulnerability during and after extreme weather events. Cardiovascular Disease Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the U.S.41 By 2030, approximately 41% of the U.S. population is projected to have some form of CVD.42 Cardiovascular disease increases sensitivity to heat stress. Mental Illness Depression is one of the most common types of mentalillness, with approximately 7% of adults reporting a major episode in the past year. Lifetime prevalence is approximately twice as high for women as for men.43 Lifetime prevalence is more than 15% for anxiety disorders and nearly 4% for bipolar disorder.44 By 2050, the total number of U.S. adults with depressive disorder is projected to increase by 35%, from 33.9 million to 45.8 million, with those over age 65 having a 117% increase.43 Mental illness may impair responses to extreme events; certain medications increase sensitivity to heat stress. Obesity In 2009–2010, approximately 35% of American adults were obese.31 In 2012, approximately 32% of youth (aged 2– 19) were overweight or obese.45, 46 By 2030, 51% of the U.S. population is expected to be obese. Projections suggest a 33% increase in obesity and a 130% increase in severe obesity.47 Obesity increases sensitivity to high ambient temperatures. Disability Approximately 18.7% of the U.S. population has a disability. In 2010, the percent of American adults with a disability was approximately 16.6% for The number of older adults with activity limitations is expected to grow from 22 Persons with disabilities may find it hard to respond when evacuation is required and when there is no available means of transportation or easy exit from
  7. 7. MONTANA TEMPERATURES Current average annual temperature is 45⁰F.Increased by 0.42°F per decade since 1950. Overall increase of 2.7°F. U.S. annual average has increased by 0.26oF per decade since 1950.
  8. 8. MONTANA PRECIPITATION Average annual precipitation is 18.7 inches. Eastern MT: increased by 1.3 to 2.0 inches in spring Western MT: decreased by 0.9 inch in winter
  9. 9. ANNUAL TEMPERATURES BY MID-CENTURY 4.5°F increase 6°F increase (minimum: 2.7°F, maximum: 6.1°F, model agreement: 100%) (minimum: 4.0°F, maximum: 8.2°F, model agreement: 100%) RCP 4.5 (2040-2060) RCP 8.5 (2040-2060)
  10. 10. MONTHLY TEMPERATURES Greater warming in: • Winter: 4 to 5°F • Summer: 5 to 5.5°F • Winter: 5 to 7°F • Summer: 6 to 7.5°F (100% model agreement) RCP 4.5 (2040-2060) RCP 8.5 (2040-2060)
  11. 11. ANNUAL PRECIPITATION Spatially variable From 1.3 to 0.8 more inches Spatially variable From 1.6 to 1.1 more inches Moderately high model agreement: 85% RCP 4.5 (2040-2060) RCP 8.5 (2040-2060)
  12. 12. MONTHLY PRECIPITATION Increases in winter, spring, and fall (>85% model agreement) Decreases in summer (65% model agreement) RCP 4.5 (2040-2060) RCP 8.5 (2040-2060)
  13. 13. HOW IS MONTANA’S CLIMATE CHANGING? Between 1950-2015: • Average temperatures have risen 2-3°F. Winter and springs have warmed the most. • Montana’s growing seasons are 12 days longer. • No changes in annual or seasonal precipitation. Future: • Additional warming of 4-6°F by 2050, 9.8°F by 2100. • Precipitation will increase slightly in winter, spring and fall, and decrease in summer.
  15. 15. SNOW TO RAIN Alder & Hostetler, USGS
  16. 16. WATER SUPPLY Photo credit: Scott Lameraux
  17. 17. STREAMFLOW PROJECTIONS – CLARK FORK -100 0 100 J F M A M J J A S O N D %ChangeinRunoff Projected increase in flow, 15-25 days earlier Projected decrease in flow Snowmelt- dominated rivers in the western & north-central Montana
  18. 18. DROUGHT
  19. 19. Increased days >90°F (up to 35 additional days) RCP 4.5 (2040-2060) RCP 8.5 (2040-2060) RISING TEMPERATURES EXACERBATE DROUGHT
  20. 20. westernwildfires 2017 US: 71,500 fires 10 million acres 2018 CA: 8527 fires 1.89 million acres
  21. 21. From Abatzoglou & Williams, PNAS 2016 ANTHROPOGENIC WARMING: 55% AREA BURNED
  22. 22. westernwildfires
  23. 23. westernwildfires NAS “Climate Stabilization Targets” (2011)
  24. 24. MCA “ROAD SHOW”
  25. 25. • Water & water storage • Floods & droughts • Wildfire response, before & after • Livestock & crop decisions • Economic implications • Health considerations MCA CONVERSATIONS
  27. 27. Proportion of wildfire in each state burned in the WUI Pre-fire suppression Today Westerling 2016 RoyalSocPhilTransB LIVING WITH WILDFIRES
  28. 28. LIVING WITH EXTREMES credit: Billing Gazette Billings Gazette MT: $378 million in federal & state funds 1.26 million acres burned
  30. 30. • Shortened winter season – Less stable snow conditions, more rain-on-snow events – Greater chance of flooding – Shoulder seasons are uncertain LIVING WITH UNCERTAINTY
  31. 31. • Longer summer season – More visitors – More wildlife-human interactions – More focus on aquatic activities • High water temperatures & low flows – Native vs non-natives fish – Fish diseases (e.g., whitefish kill) – Angling and boating restrictions
  33. 33. C2H2 ASSESSMENT Best-available information can help guide: • Needs & actions for state & public health agencies, clinics, physicians, practitioners • County/community resilience and planning efforts • Monitoring needs • Public messaging • Policy-change recommendations