Climate change is defined as change in global or regional climate patterns, which may include increases and decreases in temperature as well as changes in severe weather events. These changes in severe weather may increase both the frequency and intensity of disasters and the likelihood of mega disasters. Climate change will likely affect most severely individuals that are already more vulnerable such as older persons and children, those that are socially isolated, people with various health conditions, and those of lower socioeconomic status.

With an increase in population, comes an increase in amount of people during a crisis, including vulnerable individuals. And with the potential for more frequent and/or severe disasters, their risk for future exposure will ultimately increase. It‘s very challenging to tackle such vulnerabilities, as they’re often multi-hazardous, coupled by ecological, geopolitical, demographic and ethic standpoints.

The National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) is incorporating assessments of climate-specific impacts and vulnerabilities in its work on planning for, responding to, and recovering from disasters, connecting research, policy, and practice.

Assessing climate change impacts on populations and climate adaptation strategies provides NCDP the opportunity to carry out research that’s directly related to policy and practice. We approach this work from a disaster research paradigm, utilizing environmental epidemiology methods as well as climate information and projections to characterize health impacts and applying the preparedness, response and recovery principles to various case studies and scenarios.

Read the full article about the human factor in climate change by Elisaveta Petkova, research associate at The National Center for Disaster Preparedness.