Global Climate Change And Extreme Weather Events

/WWW

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FIGURE 1-14 Multiyear time series of incidence of dengue hemorrhagic fever cases in Bangkok decomposed using the Empirical Mode Decomposition method into three modes of different approximate frequencies. When summed, the three modes add up to the original series. We hypothesize that the modes represent the isolation of different dynamic processes.

SOURCE: Adapted with permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: Nature, Cummings et al. (2004), copyright 2004.

that may represent local and chance events. Our expectation is that decomposition methods such as these will make it possible to eliminate—as "noise"—the changes in incidence contributed by other modes and to focus on a single mode to understand its intrinsic behaviors and responsiveness to external forces.

Conclusions

In this paper, I have argued that our current understanding of the relationships between climate and weather and epidemic infectious diseases is insufficient to make quantitative predictions about future threats posed by infectious diseases under various global climate change scenarios. Nonetheless, I am confident that new state-of-the-art methods, including computational tools, are now available to apply to these difficult scientific problems. I am hopeful that within a few years it may be possible to robustly predict such risks and take steps to intervene to avert potential crises.

It is safe to say that the main "Recommendations for Future Research and Surveillance" of our Under the Weather group continue to be relevant:

• Research on the linkages between climate and infectious diseases must be strengthened.

CLIMATE CHANGE CHALLENGES 99

• Further development of disease transmission models is needed to assess the risks posed by climatic and ecological changes.

• Epidemiological surveillance programs should be strengthened.

• Observational, experimental, and modeling activities are all highly interdependent and must progress in a coordinated fashion.

• Research on climate and infectious disease linkages inherently requires interdisciplinary collaborations.

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