2002 Annual

Thursday, 17 January 2002: 8:30 AM
Climate change impacts on Florida: The potential consequences of climate variability and change on human health
Arturo E. Rodriguez, Barry University, Miami, FL
Climate is Florida's most valuable physical resource, and must be protected. During the 20th Century, the global average temperature has increased, as well as the average temperatures for the United States and Florida. The decade of the 1990's was the warmest on record, and 1998 was the warmest year worldwide. Florida was not an exception.

The purpose of this paper is to assess the current status in Florida, of the health outcomes that were identified in the health sector of the U.S. National Assessment, as the principal impacts of climate change in human health.

The statistical morbidity and mortality data in Florida during the 1990's was used to discuss the possible health consequences of the increasing temperatures. Some of the identified health impacts include the temperature-related mortality. In 1998, one of the warmest years of the decade, the heat-related mortality in Florida almost doubled the average of the previous years-from 1989 to 1997. Another consequence of global climate change on human health in Florida is the air pollution-related diseases. Higher temperatures tend to be associated with increases in the incidence of asthma, allergic disorders, and cardiorespiratory disorders and deaths. The annual average number of fatalities produced by asthma in Florida in the period from 1989 to 1999 was 259.

The results of this study can be used by scientists, policymakers, and the general public, to increase the awareness of the social consequences of the possible global warming.

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