Impact of climate change on water resources

Water is one of the main integrating factors for many environmental and economic systems in Europe. Under current climatic conditions, many areas have problems with water supply. Climate change is likely to enhance water-related stresses in these areas (8). Table 1. Assessment of European population at risk of a rise in sea level9 People affected People at risk'' Capital value loss sea level No-Percent- No' f Percent- Millions aqeof (metres) people ageQf people ageQf sands) total lands) total...

Stratospheric ozone depletion

Stratospheric ozone is thought to have begun forming several billion years ago as a result of the solar-powered destruction and recombination of oxygen. The natural concentration of stratospheric ozone is now maintained through the dynamic equilibrium existing between the production and destruction of ozone. The destruction is catalysed by trace amounts of hydrogen, nitrogen and halogen free radicals (especially chlorine and bromine). These free radicals occur naturally but, in recent decades,...

The immune system

There is good evidence both in humans and experimental animals that ultraviolet radiation causes local (that is, occurring only at the site of irradiation) and systemic immunosuppression. Although the mechanisms of ultraviolet radiation-induced immunosuppression are better understood, many questions remain to be answered. The consequences of immunosuppression for patterns of infectious disease in human populations are less clear. Cellular immunity and the activity of natural killer cells have...

Rise in sea level

Global eustatic sea level is forecast to rise by 13-94 cm by 2100 due to climate change (3). In Europe, the regions vulnerable to increased flooding include areas already close to or below mean sea level. Vulnerable regions include the coastline of the Netherlands the North Sea coast of Germany the Po River delta in Italy Areas with low intertidal variation are also more vulnerable to a rise in sea level. Such areas include the coastal zones of the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the...

Vectorborne diseases

Several important diseases are transmitted by vectors such as mosquitos, ticks or rodents. These vector organisms are sensitive to climatic conditions, especially temperature and humidity. Thus, the distribution of vector-borne diseases is restricted by the climatic tolerance limits of their vectors. Further, biological restrictions that limit the survival of the infective agent in the vector population also determine the absolute limits for disease transmission. Climate plays a role in...

Waterrelated diseases

Water-related diseases can be divided into four categories (105). Faecal-oral diseases can spread via water or food contaminated with faecal material. They include diseases transmitted by direct ingestion of the pathogen and those spread because of a lack of water for personal hygiene. Examples include cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A and diarrhoeal diseases. Certain diseases that spread from one person to another can be exacerbated by lack of water for personal hygiene. These include infections...

Initiatives on climate change and human health

Growing awareness of climate change has stimulated several assessments of its likely effects on human population health. In particular, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has comprehensively reviewed the scientific literature on this topic in its Second Assessment Report (6,7) and the Third Assessment Report due out in 2001. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change regional assessment also addressed the health effects for Europe (8). A task group convened by WHO, the World...

References

The role of the stratosphere in climate change. Surveys in geophysics, 14 133-165 (1993). 2. World Meteorological Organization, United Nations Environment Programme, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Scientific assessment of ozone depletion 1994. Nairobi, United Nations Environment Programme, 1994 (WMO Report No. 37). 3. Houghton, J.T. et al., ed. Climate change 1995. The science of climate change....