Maryland Climate and Health Profile

The Maryland Climate and Health Profile report details current and future impacts of climate change on public health in Maryland. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the University of Maryland School of Public Health have identified adverse health outcomes that are projected to be exacerbated across the state using historical climate data along with health data - providing the first quantitative estimate of how extreme events are affecting the public health in Maryland, up to 2040. The Profile examines anticipated public health impacts of climate effects and extreme weather on food-borne and water-borne diseases, cardiorespiratory conditions, motor vehicle accidents, and vector-borne diseases. This information is designed to guide adaptation strategies at the local and state level.

In addition, the report describes how negative health burdens are not equally distributed across race/ethnicity or geographical areas of Maryland. Pilot projects for county-level analysis present various demographic scenarios and projected climate impacts. The report concludes that local and state level strategies to build healthy and resilient communities must take into account social equity.   

Chapter 3 of the report provides a summary of results including:

  1. Baseline Health Assessments, which were prepared from a standardized set of health, economic, and sociodemographic indicators for Maryland;
  2. observed frequencies of extreme heat and precipitation events in Maryland during the 1960-2012 period;
  3. relationship between extreme events and selected diseases in Maryland during 2000-2012;
  4. projection of extreme heat events in Maryland in 2040; and
  5. projections for selected diseases in Maryland as a result of these extreme heat events in 2040.

Summaries of county level results are provided for each of four participating pilot counties including Baltimore City, Prince George’s County, Washington County, and Wicomico County. The case studies provide detail on each county’s demographics, climate forecast, and disease burden projection. The purpose of these projections is to mirror that which is presented for the entire state, with the intention of highlighting the changing vulnerability and projections of disease burden, based upon geography and factors that are inherent to those locations.

Some of the key findings of the Climate and Health Profile report include:

-Extreme weather is on the rise: Summertime extreme heat events more than doubled in Maryland during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s compared to the 1960s and 1970s.

-Extreme weather increases risk of foodborne illnesses: Both extreme heat and extreme precipitation events significantly increase the risk of Salmonella infections in Maryland. The increases in risk associated with extreme weather events is considerably higher among coastal communities compared to more inland communities.

-Extreme heat raises heart attack risk: Exposure to summertime extreme heat events increases the risk of hospitalization for heart attack in Maryland. Non-Hispanic blacks have a much higher risk compared to non-Hispanic whites.

-Extreme precipitation raises accident risk: Exposure to extreme precipitation events increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents, particularly during the fall and summer months.

 

This Climate and Health Profile Report summarizes results of a collaborative effort by DHMH, local health departments, and academic institutions utilizing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework to use climate models and health data to predict how anticipated climate effects might affect public health in Maryland, as a first step towards development of interventions and strategies to detect and prevent those health impacts.

 

 

Publication Date: April 2016

Related Organizations:

  • State of Maryland

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  • Assessment

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