The current and future impacts of climate change on human health in Indiana


(NOTE: article still under review, abstract might change)

Climate change is already being felt on local levels, with historical records from the State of Indiana (USA), revealing warmer winters, more extreme heat days, and more extreme precipitation events. These climate factors impact human health in a number of ways, including heat stress and stroke, cardiopulmonary issues, expansion of the range of insects carrying vector-borne diseases, and increases in flooding and related water quality issues. This state-level assessment was designed to extend the record historical records forward, examining future climate change impacts on human health using outputs from advanced climate model projections for the next 80 years. Results indicate an extension of the trends observed in the historical records. Of particular concern is the projected greatly increased extreme heat days and general increase in “tropical night” conditions, which strongly impact the cardiopulmonary health of more vulnerable populations, particularly in cities with their associated heat island effects and high percentage of vulnerable people.

Continued trends for warmer winters and more flooding suggest a much greater risk for the expansion and virulence of a number of vector-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, and a number of other more “tropical” diseases (malaria, dengue, chikungunya, zika) for which the mosquito vectors will thrive.

Higher temperatures will also drive increases in the algal production of water-borne toxins in lakes and reservoirs, which may have implications for human health if lake waters are ingested.


Indiana, climate, climate change, health, health impacts, air pollution, pollen, flooding, disease

Date of this Version



This article is currently under review. For additional information or questions, please contact Melissa Widhalm at mwidhalm@purdue.edu.

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