Human Health and Climate Change Research
Climate change is having direct and indirect impacts on the health of people. More extreme weather events, heat waves, spread of infectious diseases and detrimental impacts on air and water quality are having impacts on our health.
Research is underway to assess those most susceptible to the health impacts related to a changing climate and identify ways to reduce those impacts.
Researchers are working to:
- Identify and characterize communities and people at greatest risk to the impacts of climate change and air pollution.
- Assess the individual and synergistic impacts of climate change and air quality on human health.
- Develop approaches to assess the likelihood and effects of extreme events, including wildfires, floods, and heat waves, on human health.
- Identify potential societal and behavioral responses to human health risks from climate change.
- National Climate Assessment -- EPA participates in the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Sustained Assessment Working Group and contributes to the program’s development of the National Climate Assessment. The fourth National Climate Assessment was published in November 2018 and includes a chapter on the impacts of climate change on human health.
- The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment -- This is a 2016 report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, developed by 100 scientists across 7 agencies, including EPA.
- Clean Cookstove Research -- The majority of cookstoves used in developing countries emit black carbon, an air pollutant that contributes to warming of the atmosphere.
- Wildland Fire Science Research -- EPA is using its expertise in air quality research to fill the gaps in scientific information and to develop tools to prevent and reduce the impact of smoke from wildfires and controlled or prescribed burns.
- Global Change Explorer (GCX) -- A collection of web tools that visualize, compare, and provide access to spatial data that describe potential future environmental change. These data can serve as a starting point when assessing the vulnerability of air, water, ecosystems, and human health to climate change, land use change, and other large-scale environmental stressors. The data and tools in the Global Change Explorer are relevant across multiple scientific disciplines and environmental media, providing a foundation for integrated assessments of global change.