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Global warming is cooling many of the world’s economies – Digital Journal

File photo: The heat from the Dixie Fire bent street lights to the ground, as the blaze tore through Greenville, California. — © AFP/File

Climate change affects much of the Earth and the way we interact with it. This is not just in relation to biology but also to the way economies develop. We look at three research areas that provide an alternative look at the climate change problem.

Global warming cools economies

Economies are sensitive to persistent temperature shocks over at least a 10-year time frame and with the recent increases in global temperatures, the climate changes have impacted economic growth across many nations.

A study from University of California – Davis has analysed the effect of global rising temperatures and climate change on Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The outcome of the economic assessment is that nearly a quarter of the countries studied are sensitive to such impacts.

Taking one example, the El Niño Southern Oscillation is a 3 to 7-year temperature fluctuation in the Pacific Ocean that affects temperature and rainfall in many parts of the world. The GDP effects of these types of lower-frequency oscillations are also significant and long lasting on many nations within this region.

The research appears in the journal Environmental Research Letters, titled “Persistent effect of temperature on GDP identified from lower frequency temperature variability.”

Global warming triggers diseases

A comprehensive assessment of scientific literature has uncovered empirical evidence that more than 58 percent of human diseases caused by pathogens, such as dengue, hepatitis, pneumonia, malaria, Zika and more, have been–at some point–aggravated by climatic hazards.

Pathogenic diseases are primarily transmitted by vectors, plus waterborne, airborne, direct contact and foodborne transmission pathways. Overall, 218 out of 375, of known human pathogenic diseases had been affected at some point, by at least one climatic hazard, via 1,006 unique pathways.

The research appears in the journal Nature Climate Change titled “Over half of known human pathogenic diseases can be aggravated by climate change.”

Risk assessment

The above two areas indicate the need for careful planning and risk management. Here studies show that simultaneous extreme heat and drought events have consequences in a variety of areas, such as the economy and medicine, as indicated above; but also overall health and food production.

In addition, due to complex socio-economic connections, these more frequent extreme events can cause knock-on effects. Therefore, University of Zurich scientists conclude, more systematic risk assessments are needed to make affected regions more resilient and to enable governments to plan better.

The research appears in the journal PLOS Climate Change, titled “Towards improved understanding of cascading and interconnected risks from concurrent weather extremes: Analysis of historical heat and drought extreme events.”

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