Last updated September 10, 2019

Respiratory Disease Risk Increase

Warmer temperatures and longer seasons can lead to the production of more plant-based allergens that increase allergic sensitizations and asthma episodes.

Physical considerations

Warmer temperatures and longer seasons can lead to the production of more plant-based allergens that increase allergic sensitizations and asthma episodes.[1][2][3][4]

Extreme rainfall and rising temperatures can also foster indoor air quality problems, including the growth of indoor fungi and molds, with increases in respiratory and asthma-related conditions.[5][6]

U.S. respiratory disease risk trends and climate change

  • (Anenberg et al. 2017) finds that severe climate change could increase oak pollen season length and associated asthma ED visits by 5% and 10% on average in 2050 and 2090.[7]
  • (Tong et al. 2017) finds that there was a 240% increase in the number of large dust storms between 1990s and 2000s. Finds that this trend is likely driven by large-scale variations of sea surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean, with the strongest correlation with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. States that in the Southwest, the infection rate of Valley fever has mysteriously gone up more than 800% from 2000 to 2011. In two endemic centers, dust storms are found to better correlated with the disease than any other known controlling factor.[8]
  • (Ziska et al. 2011) finds that the significant increase in the length of the ragweed (Ambrosia spp.) pollen season — by as much as 13–27 days at latitudes above ~44°N in North America since 1995 — was associated primarily with a delay in first frost of the fall season and lengthening of the frost-free period.[9]

Global respiratory disease risk trends and climate change

  • (Ariano et al. 2010) finds a progressive increase in the duration of the pollen seasons for Parietaria (+85 days), olive (+18 days), and cypress (+18 days), with an overall advance of their start dates, in western Liguria, Italy between 1981 and 2007.[10]
  • (Wang et al. 2016) finds causal associations between PM2.5 (fine particulate matter with a diameter <2.5 microns that comes from vehicle exhaust and other sources) and all natural-cause mortality in New Jersey from 2004 to 2009.[11]
  • (Winkler et al. 2014) finds that climate change leads to greater frequency of heat waves and decreased air quality in the Midwest.[5]