We all hear about global warming in our daily lives. It’s a topic that gains relevance as people become more aware of it through different sources of information and also by seeing first-hand how dramatically the climate has changed in many places.
We want to share key information to help you understand how global warming affects you directly.
The Earth’s climate has changed before, but this time is different. People are causing these changes, which are bigger and happening faster than any climate changes that modern society has ever seen.
How it affects your health
Most of the information you may have come across, often emphasises on the effects in our physical environment: melting icecaps, rising sea levels, heat-waves, and storms. However, increasing evidence shows that the impact on human health will be a major challenge in years to come.
Diseases linked to climate, as well as air pollution, heat waves and severe storms already threaten people’s health in many regions of the planet, and climate change will only increase these threats.
There are certain kinds of air pollutants, like ozone, that can make asthma or other common lung conditions even worse. The ozone found close to the surface of the Earth is called “bad ozone” because it’s the main ingredient of smog and is harmful to people.
The air pollutants found outdoors can easily come into our houses as well, staying indoors does not protect us from all the harmful gasses present in the environment. You can learn more about indoor air quality in this link.
Undoubtedly, the first major health impact of climate change is the rise in rates of mortality and diseases caused by extreme weather events. These include floods, droughts, tsunamis, heat waves and other disasters which kill thousands of people in both the developed and developing worlds.
Extreme heat can be especially dangerous for infants and young children, the elderly and for people who are already sick. It can be the cause of illnesses like heat stroke, heat cramps, and even death.
To give an example, a 2003 heat wave in Europe caused about 50,000 deaths, and a 1995 heat wave in Chicago caused more than 600 deaths. In fact, according to the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency, “heat waves cause more deaths in the United States every year than hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined”.
Impact of Global Warming in Singapore
According to the National Climate Change Secretariat –NCCS, “From 1972 to 2014, the annual mean temperature has increased from 26.6°C to 27.7°C”.
And according to Singapore’s Second National Climate Change Study, “there has been a general uptrend in annual average rainfall from 2192mm in 1980 to 2727mm in 2014”.
In 2001, the first recorded cyclone near the equator, Typhoon Vamei, swept north of Singapore and caused major flooding in the region. It is uncertain whether such tropical cyclones near the equator will occur more frequently in the future.