4b.5 Climate and human health: A regional perspective on vulnerabilities and service needs

Tuesday, 19 July 2011: 9:30 AM
Salon C2 (Asheville Renaissance)
Christopher M. Fuhrmann, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; and C. E. Konrad

Climate variability and change are affecting human health now, with impacts expected to increase as sea-level rises and extreme weather events become more frequent. In this presentation, we provide a regional perspective on the human health effects of climate variability in the Southeast United States. First, we review the current climate-related health risks in the region and discuss some of the emerging threats and the opportunities for managing them. Second, we examine the types of climate information needed to address these health risks and the challenges associated with linking health and climate data. Third, we outline the types of tools and products that need to be developed to make communities and health organizations more resilient to climate variability and change. This information is obtained largely from our engagements and discussions with members of the health and climate communities at the federal, state, regional, and local levels. In addition, we draw on the results of our collaborative research activities that currently focus on the prediction of health outcomes associated with three major threats in the region: extreme heat, air pollution, and harmful algal blooms. Managing vulnerabilities to climate variability within the health community requires coordination of efforts and resources at increasingly local scales, and it is our hope that lessons learned through our research and assessment activities can be applied to other regions and their communities to inform assessment and adaptation strategies.
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