As the climate changes, extreme weather events will occur more frequently, including both droughts and floods. These extreme weather events will impact health in many ways. For example, changes in precipitation will alter our food chain, drinking water supplies, and wildfire patterns. Floods can devastate communities and result in drownings, infections, displacement from one's home, and long-lasting mental health effects.
How does climate change affect extreme weather events?
Climate change is expected to increase both droughts and flooding.
- Droughts can occur during prolonged periods without rain.
- Hardened and parched soils also contribute to flooding when rain finally falls.
- In some areas, the occurrence of heavy downpours has increased and is expected to continue increasing as temperatures rise.
- Dry and hardened soils have difficulty soaking up rainfall, contributing to flash floods during heavy downpours.
Some areas of California may experience extreme drought, while others may have risks from increased flooding.
How do extreme weather events impact health?
Extreme weather can impact health in a variety of ways, including:
- Food-borne illness
- Malnourishment or food insecurity from crop failure
- Contaminated drinking water
- Vector-borne diseases
- Injuries and drownings from floods
- Mental health effects from devastation and displacement caused by extreme weather
Who will be most affected?
- The elderly
- Immuno-compromised individuals
- Individuals living in low-lying area
- Individuals living in poor or urban areas