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G249
Climate Change and Humans

Jim Newton, P.E., DEE

Climate change, interacting with changes in land use and demographics, will affect important human dimensions in the United States, especially those related to human health, settlements and welfare. The challenges presented by population growth, an aging population, migration patterns, and urban and coastal development will be affected by changes in temperature, precipitation, and extreme climate-related events. In the future, with continued global warming, heat waves and heavy downpours are very likely to further increase in frequency and intensity. Cold days and cold nights are very likely to become much less frequent over North America. Substantial areas of North America are likely to have more frequent droughts of greater severity. Hurricane wind speeds, rainfall intensity, and storm surge levels are likely to increase. Other changes include measurable sea-level rise and increases in the occurrence of coastal and riverine flooding. The United States is certainly capable of adapting to the collective impacts of climate change. However, there will still be certain individuals and locations where the adaptive capacity is less and these individuals and their communities will be disproportionally impacted by climate change.

This course focuses on impacts of global climate change, especially impacts on three broad dimensions of the human condition: human health, human settlements, and human welfare. The course examines potential impacts of climate change on human society, opportunities for adaptation, and associated recommendations for addressing data gaps and near- and long-term research goals.

The text for this course was authored by the US EPA and a number of national and international experts and is titled, “Analyses of the Effects of Global Change on Human Health and Welfare and Human Systems, Final Report, Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.6”, 2008.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.


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