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Understanding the Impact of Climate Change on Human Health

Understanding the Impact of Climate Change on Human Health

Main contact:   Christopher Uzzell

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Understanding the impact of climate change on human health: Using remote sensing to define associations between environmental parameters and zoonotic diseases

Climate change has been identified as one of the biggest challenges facing humankind. It is predicted to impact not only on global temperature but also atmospheric moisture, precipitation and atmospheric circulation. These in turn will impact the hydrological cycle, especially the character of precipitation (such as location, frequency intensity, duration), and extreme events, including floods and droughts, therefore directly impacting human society.

Of paramount importance is the need to better understand the impact of climate change on infectious disease dynamics and human health. However, many knowledge gabs exist. This research project aims to address the need to greater understand the relationship between zoonotic disease patterns and their associated environmental parameters. Relevant environmental data can be obtained from remotely gathered satellite imagery and datasets, which provide a cost-effective rapid means of gathering data.

This inter-disciplinary research project will combine fluvial geomorphology, spatial epidemiology, remote sensing and environmental modelling, based within a geographic information system (GIS) framework, to develop a geospatial tool to predict disease outbreak in Tanzania. In turn this will provide timely warnings of epidemics due to an improved understanding of possible causal factors, and an increased ability to identify high risk populations, enabling the concentration of limited resources at 'hotspot' locations and assisting in hazard reduction by raising community awareness or risks involved.