Abstract

There is near consensus in the scientific community that humans will experience higher future temperatures due to the ongoing accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The human response to this climatic change, particularly if accompanied by a surge in extreme heat events, is a key topic being addressed by scientists across many disciplines. In this article, we review recent (2012–2015) research on human health impacts of observed and projected increases in summer temperature. We find that studies based on projected changes in climate indicate substantial increases in heat-related mortality and morbidity in the future, while observational studies based on historical climate and health records show a decrease in negative impacts during recent warming. The discrepancy between the two groups of studies generally involves how well and how quickly humans can adapt to changes in climate via physiological, behavioral, infrastructural, and/or technological adaptation, and how such adaptation is quantified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Climate Change Reports
Volume1
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Health
  • Heat
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science

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