AMS Insights are perspectives meant to connect AMS Statements with views on real world events. We hope these views help shed light on various aspects of the weather, water, and climate enterprise and the relationship we all share with that.
AMS Statements represent our official position on various topics relating to weather, water, and climate.
Recent news stories have dramatized the complex and changing relationship between weather and the well-being of life on Earth. Last week, a new study suggested that by the end of this century, the hottest days around the Persian Gulf will exceed the temperature and humidity levels humans can survive without artificial cooling—even in the shade. At the same time, 3 million refugees have fled a civil war in Syria precipitated in part by a persisting drought, and half a million Indonesians have reported haze-induced respiratory illness due to widespread fires as El Niño–warmed weather dries out forests.
Closer to home, weather and climate change–enhanced king tides from South Carolina to Massachusetts have created an unhealthy brew of sewage and industrial waste, flooding basements, streets, and lawns; wildlife flees into neighborhoods with higher ground and mosquitoes hatch in abundance. Meanwhile, new research in the journal Earth Interactions projects potentially longer West Nile Virus seasons in the United States, with higher proportions of infected mosquitoes.
The AMS Statement on “One Health” recognizes the common theme of such stories: the health of humans, other animals, and ecosystems is intricately interconnected. Further, the statement reminds us that, “Because weather and climate affect the health and well-being of humans, other animals, and ecosystems, meteorologists and climate scientists bring fundamental knowledge, skills, and experiences that can improve health today and throughout the coming decades.”
A changing climate will alter infectious diseases, air quality, access to water, crop production, seasonal cycles, and animal migration patterns in ways that threaten human health and well-being, particularly for the poor, the elderly, and the young. These factors will motivate even greater integration across scientific disciplines.
Responding will require an approach to health that fuses biological, medical, societal, and environmental sciences with the knowledge and capabilities developed in our weather, water, and climate community. The American Meteorological Society and its membership are finding new areas of collaboration to extend our expertise, experience, and global network to benefit society in new ways.
Projection of Climate Change Influences on U.S. West Nile Virus Vectors
Earth Interactions, 2015
Water, Drought, Climate Change, and Conflict in Syria
Weather, Climate, and Society, July 2014
The Impact of Recent Heat Waves on Human Health in California
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, January 2014
Future Temperature in Southwest Asia Projected to Exceed a Threshold for Human Adaptability
Nature Climate Change, 26 October 2015
Lasting Damage: Water, Soils, Wildlife Disturbed by Deluge
The Post and Courier, 11 October 2015