How Might Global Climate Change Affect Life on Earth?
ESU501  Health Impacts

Climate changes affect ecological systems, and changes in ecological systems influence the processes of disease transmission. Changes in temperature and precipitation, as well as extreme climate events such as floods or droughts, are capable of changing ecological systems. For example, research links increases in diarrheal disease to flooding, and cholera outbreaks to warmer sea surface temperatures. Different weather conditions are known to affect vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue.

Location and types of health impacts associated with El Niño climatic events.


NOAA scientists are conducting long-term studies to determine the effect that El Niño- related changes in precipitation and temperature have on outbreaks and transmission of infectious diseases, especially diseases carried by mosquitoes, rodents, and water.

NOAA Office of Global Programs

Health Links

US Global Change Research Project: Health Impacts

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: Human Health

International Research Institute: Climate and Health

National Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change (Summary): Health