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Introduction to the Colloquium on Climate and Health: A Challenge to Interdisciplinarity

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... summer of 1998 Linda lends Jonathan her car in Snowmass, Colorado at an EMF workshop. Jonathan repays loan with a fabulous dinner at Krabloonik combination dog ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to the Colloquium on Climate and Health: A Challenge to Interdisciplinarity


1
(No Transcript)
2
Introduction to the Colloquium on Climate and
Health A Challenge to Interdisciplinarity
  • L. O. Mearns
  • NCAR
  • Colloquium on Climate and Health
  • NCAR, Boulder, CO
  • July 17, 2006

3
Evolution of the Colloquium
  • In the summer of 1998 Linda lends Jonathan her
    car in Snowmass, Colorado at an EMF workshop
  • Jonathan repays loan with a fabulous dinner at
    Krabloonik combination dog sledding operation
    and restaurant (very interdisciplinary
    establishment!)
  • They discuss good wines
  • (and climate and health) over dinner
  • The rest is history!
  • Reflects importance of diverse
  • activities for formulating interdisciplinary
    programs

4
First Colloquium
Held in summer 2004 a broad overview of
health-climate topics (heat waves, air
pollution, vector-borne disease).
5
Second Colloquium Focus on Vector-born Disease
  • Organizing Committee
  • Kris Ebi, Exponent Consulting
  • Sandy Johnson, U. Denver
  • Linda Mearns, NCAR
  • Johnathan Patz, U. Wisconsin

6
Evolution of the Colloquium
  • Part of the NCAR Weather and Climate Impacts
    Assessment Science Program
  • (www.assessment.ucar.edu)
  • Developed in 2001-2002
  • Program Development set up to promote more
    integrated research at NCAR

7
www.assessment.ucar.edu
8
Weather and Climate Impact Assessment Science
Program
Composed of three elements
Characterizing Uncertainty in Impact Assessment
Science
Extreme Weather and Climate Events
  • Climate and Health Program Development

www.assessment.ucar.edu
9
Climate/Health Component
  • Climate/health issues integrate well with other
    two parts of the Program.
  • Both temperature and precipitation extremes are
    important contributors to problems in human
    health
  • Many important issues of uncertainty in
    attribution of climate as a cause of health
    problems (e.g., vector-borne disease)

10
Extremes
  • Summer 2003 heat wave in Europe

11
Anomalously High Precipitation
  • High June Precipitation and West Nile Virus in
    Colorado (2004)
  • West Nile is in county skeeters Boulder Daily
    Camera, July 13, 2006
  • High precipitation and warm weather

12
Why Climate and Health ?
  • Human Health is one of the less well-developed
    impacts areas
  • Impacts area to which people are very sensitive
    (in risk analysis parlance, has a high dread
    factor).

13
Why Climate and Health ?
  • A highly complex impact area that requires a very
    high level of interdisciplinary from the very
    start (climate,weather, biology, public health,
    economics, policy)
  • Evidence that climate and weather information has
    not always been properly integrated into studies.

14
Need for Health/Climate/Environment Programs
Specific recommendations from the National
Academy of Sciences Report of the Committee on
Climate, Ecosystems, Infectious Disease, and
Human Health, 2001.
15
Need for Health/Climate/Environment Programs
Specific Recommendations from the CEIDH Report
  • Research on the linkages between climate and
    infectious diseases must be strengthened.
  • Research on climate and infectious diseases
    requires interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Recommends educational programs for health
    workers that explore environmental and
    socio-economic factors.

16
Need for Health/Climate/Environment Programs
Inclusion of new section on environmental
(including climate) factors in the Institute of
Medicine Report on Microbial Threats to Health,
2003.
17
Climate/Health Program
Interdisciplinary Community Integrated Approach
Physical
Biological
Data Rescue and Archive
Design Analysis
  • Hydrology
  • Oceanography
  • Climatology
  • Ecology
  • Entomology
  • Microbiology
  • Mamology

Modeling and Prediction
Vulnerability and Risk Assessment
Social
  • Public Health
  • Demography
  • Economics
  • Sociology

Observation Monitoring Surveillance
Analytical Studies
18
Long Term Goal Full Climate/Health Program
Emphasizing Education
  • Program Elements
  • Establishment of a formal post-doctoral program
    at NCAR for health researchers, and
    climatologists interested in health problems
  • Formal scholarly exchanges between NCAR and
    others institutions, such as U. Michigan, U.
    Wisconsin, the Center for Disease Control
    (e.g., summer visits at NCAR)..
  • Visitor program for policy makers and public
    health workers to become more informed regarding
    climate and human health interactions.

19
Short Term Goal or what we can afford right
now
Bi-annual Educational Colloquium on Climate and
Human Health
20
Progression of Climate and Health in the Reports
of the IPCC
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    established by WMO and UNEP - to assess the
    scientific and socio-economic information on
    climate change

21
Development of Climate and Health in the Reports
of the IPCC
  • First, 1990 no chapter on subject treatment
    of heat stress, vague statements on infectious
    disease
  • Second, 1995 separate chapter inclusion of
    direct and indirect effects emphasized role of
    socioeconomic factors
  • Third, 2001 explicitly addresses methodological
    difficulties in attribution of causation to
    climate when many factors present
  • Fourth, 2007 -- more focus on current impacts
    very difficult attribution problem

22
The Joys and Challenges of Being an
Interdisciplinarian
  • What you need to know

23
Impediments to Interdisciplinarity
  • Accusations of superficiality by disciplinarians
  • Inhospitable institutional structures
  • Difficulties in communicating across disciplines
    (death by acronym)
  • Inadequate or non-existent reward systems
  • Inadequate or hostile funding mechanisms

24
Status in Climate and Health
  • Interdisciplinary journals exist (e.g Global
    Environmental Change and Health which became
    Ecohealth Conservation Medicine, Human Health,
    and Sustainable Ecology)

25
Status in Climate and Health 2
  • Interdisciplinary funding programs (e.g., NOAA,
    NASA).
  • Interdisciplinary programs at Universities (U.
    Michigan, U. Wisconsin, Columbia).
  • But, reward systems still inadequate.
  • Federal agency cooperation needs further
    development.

26
What you need to know and do
  • You do not need to become an expert in three or
    more different fields.
  • But, you do need to understand basic issues in
    fields adjacent to your focus read a great deal
    now while you have time!
  • Work closely and actively with experts in the
    adjacent fields.
  • Become part of and help build the
    interdisciplinary community

27
Goals of the Colloquium
  • Provide overviews of relevant fields
  • Gain further appreciation for the complexity of
    interactions
  • Gain more familiarity with social vulnerability
    perspective
  • Provide hands-on tutorials with tools for use in
    climate-health research
  • Promote interaction across disciplines

28
And Have FUN!
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