Climate change increases levels of major air pollutants including particulate matter, ground-level ozone, and pollen, which can induce or aggravate respiratory conditions such as allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer, as well as cardiovascular disease.
As average temperatures increase, extreme heat events are predicted to become more frequent, longer-lasting, and severe.
Minnesota and the Midwest as a whole will be particularly hard-hit. Summers in the Twin Cities now have around five more extremely hot and humid days and five fewer cool, dry days than in the mid-1940s.
Extreme heat events can:
Climate change is predicted to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme weather events including flooding and drought.
Warmer, wetter conditions caused by climate change are favorable to the spread of insects harboring infectious pathogens.
According to a 2016 report by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, climate change impacts mental health and well-being, and those suffering from poor mental health are more susceptible to other negative health impacts of climate change.
Minnesota Climate & Health Profile Report. Minnesota Department of Health. St. Paul, MN. February 2015.
Dodgen, D., D. Donato, N. Kelly, A. La Greca, J. Morganstein, J. Reser, J. Ruzek, S. Schweitzer, M.M. Shimamoto, K. Thigpen Tart, and R. Ursano, 2016: Ch. 8: Mental Health and Well-Being. The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, 217–246. http://dx.doi.org/10.7930/J0TX3C9H
Cavanagh, Michaela. “It’s Time to Talk About Ecological Grief.” Undark, January 10, 2019. https://undark.org/2019/01/10/its-time-to-talk-about-ecological-grief/