The health of Hoosiers may be impacted as the climate continues to change and a new report examines how environmental trends, including continued warming, could impact health statewide.
Since 1960 Indiana’s average temperature has risen by 2 percent. A new report, Hoosier Health in a Changing Climate, studied the potential for statewide warming trends to negatively impact the health of people in Indiana.
The report is the latest in a series from the Purdue Climate Change Research Center. IUPUI earth sciences professor Gabriel Filippelli says warmer temperatures impact low-income Hoosiers first.
“These vulnerable populations are those who suffer what we call the cumulative impacts of heat stress and it ends up sending them to the hospital if they are lucky enough to have access to that,” says Filippelli.
The report also found people in urban areas may be more susceptible to heating trends.
It is the first to look at Indiana specifically. Filippelli says, while it does show fewer people will die from cold extremes, it also shows the flip side.
“More will die of heat extreme events than we will save via warmer winters,” says Filippelli.
The report also considers humidity and tropical conditions. It predicts an increase in mosquito-borne diseases says Filippelli.
“Things like West Nile virus as well as things like malaria and dengue fever which are tropical diseases, but we will likely begin to see them here,” says Filippelli.
The paper does make recommendations that could inform policy and individual choices, including choices about carbon emissions reduction and mosquito control.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled Professor Gabriel Filippelli’s name.