How is global warming harming our health?

Global warming will warm the oceans, send temperatures soaring and disrupt weather patterns. However, what other harmful effects will have a knock on effect on our health? What is global warming and it’s effects?

To start with, global warming arguably has already begun to disrupt the world’s weather patterns. This can lead to more severe heat waves, which can cause droughts and cut down any cooling relief that we will be desperate to seek. Floods will also become more and more common, which can cause drowning and help spread infectious diseases. Infectious diseases are underrated, as the deaths and damage caused initially from floods will capture our attention. Infectious diseases however can take root in a disaster and can spread to other areas, killing or infecting people over time, often long after the disaster has happened.

Global warming’s right hand henchman is the humble mosquito. Mosquitoes love the heat. Winter frosts kill mosquito eggs and larvae as well as fully grown mosquitoes. However, with the increase in heat, mosquitoes can flourish, dealing out lethal diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and encephalitis. Most insects can not only die in the cold but also in high temperatures. Not so with the mosquito, as they have a broader survivable higher temperature range. As the air becomes warmer, so too does their bite rate. They can also venture into previously inaccessible areas to spread diseases further afield with the rising heat.

So what is global warming and its effects to do with increased spreading of diseases?

Certain diseases flourish in changing temperatures too, such as the transmission of St Louis encephalitis and other diseases that prey on humans, birds and mosquitoes.

The West Nile virus that found its way in to New York in the year 2000 is an example of where rapidly changing weather patterns may be responsible for bringing this disease into the US, possibly due to the Culex Pipiens mosquitoes. These mosquitoes favour urban conditions and relish stagnant pools, sewers and damp.

Unstable weather conditions can be responsible for killing off predators that prey on mosquitoes, such as ladybirds and lacewings that can be killed off in a drought. Drought can also lead to birds having to flock together at water sources, helping to spread diseases between birds and of course giving the mosquitoes at these diminishing water sources open season on biting –  to spread diseases even quicker.

So, it would appear that the mosquito will relish global warming and is ideally suited to flourishing in floods and also rising temperatures.

As for if the world will supposedly ending this year in 1012 – highly unlikely as it will still take time for the worst effects on our health to accelerate. The Aztecs predicted that the world will end this year, but they could not predict their own demise. So they are a little bit of a dodgy source to take advice from.

The surge of disaster movies where the world’s tectonic plates start dancing around and creating huge super tsunami waves probably won’t be happening soon either 😉

The mosquito on the other hand has all the time in the world to aid in our demise. What is global warming going to do for the humble but complex mosquito . . .? They are going to thrive.

Article by Kevin Baker

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