Climate and Health Working Group
The US CLIVAR Working Group on Climate and Health was initiated in August 2023 and will continue through Summer 2026. The working group, co-funded by US CLIVAR and the National Institutes of Health, pulls together 18 leading experts in various disciplines spanning the climate-health space with a track record of interdisciplinary collaboration.
It is increasingly recognized by the public health and medical communities that climate variability and change are significant drivers and threat multipliers of human health outcomes. Climate variability and change influence human health not only through exposure pathways (heat stress, air quality, extreme events, etc.), but also through interactions with vulnerability factors such as under-resourced communities, health disparity populations, and/or other historically disadvantaged communities.
Over the past decade, the number of scientists engaging in research on climate and health has increased dramatically (USGCRP 2016; Harper et al. 2021)—see, HHS-NOAA Climate and Health Outlook, the National Integrated Heat Health Information System, and the WMO/WHO ClimaHealth platform. There are, however, several roadblocks to the success of this crucial new research enterprise within the U.S. (NRC 2015), including:
- Lack of robust data management and sharing protocols;
- The complexity of uncertainties in climate predictions and projections; and
- Disciplinary segregation across the federal funding and training landscapes.
The mission of this Climate and Health working group is to make significant progress on removing these roadblocks by establishing a community of practice with well-vetted protocols for data management and sharing, improving the quantification, communication and understanding of uncertainties in climate predictions and projections, and laying the groundwork for transdisciplinary collaboration and partnerships between federal funding agencies.
Main objectives of the working group
1. Address data management, accessibility, and integration issues within and across the climate science and health sectors. Explore and characterize the current landscape on data management and accessibility in the climate and health sectors, seeking examples of successes in other interdisciplinary communities that we might emulate. Collaboratively write and publish a commentary or opinion article emphasizing the scientific gaps and possible models for increasing interdisciplinary collaboration on climate and health through improved data management and accessibility.
2. Develop best practices for incorporating climate and environmental uncertainty into climate-driven forecasts and/or projections of health outcomes. Survey the existing literature in which climate uncertainty is (or is not) incorporated into climate/health predictions, and develop a slate of best practices that can be articulated into a paper highlighting these best practices for specific scientific applications. Identify opportunities for hands-on training to support incorporating climate uncertainty into climate/health research such as a "hackathon."
3. Identify research gaps and future programs that are key to the development of the workforce underpinning this crucial research enterprise. Examine the current landscape for research at the nexus of climate and health, and discuss with stakeholders, including practicing researchers and science program leads, how best to chart a productive pathway forward.
Kris Karnauskas (co-chair)
|University of Colorado Boulder|
|Regina Bures (co-chair)||National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute|
|University of California, Irvine|
|The City University of New York|
|University of Indiana|
|The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill|
|Los Alamos National Laboratory|
|National Institutes of Health Parasitology & International Programs|
|Ryan Harp||UCAR Cooperative Programs for the Advancement of Earth System Science|
|Lee Newman||Colorado School of Public Health|
|Matt Newman||NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory|
|Texas A&M University|
|New York University|
Harper, S.L., A. Cunsolo, A. Babujee, S. Coggins, E. De Jongh, T Rusnak, C.J. Wright, and M. Dominguez Aguilar, 2021: Trends and gaps in climate change and health research in North America. Environ. Res., 199, ISSN 0013-9351, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.111205.
National Research Council, 2015: Modeling the Health Risks of Climate Change: Workshop Summary. The National Academies Press, 59 pp. https://doi.org/10.17226/21705.
USGCRP, 2016: The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. Crimmins, A., J. Balbus, J.L. Gamble, C.B. Beard, J.E. Bell, D. Dodgen, R.J. Eisen, N. Fann, M.D. Hawkins, S.C. Herring, L. Jantarasami, D.M. Mills, S. Saha, M.C. Sarofim, J. Trtanj, and L. Ziska, Eds. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, 312 pp. http://dx.doi.org/10.7930/J0R49NQ.