Climate Change and Your Health

Climate Change Health Threats in North Dakota

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Ozone Smog and Allergenic Ragweed Occurrence   >= 1 unhealthy ozone days/yr (2002-2006)   Both ragweed and ozone present and >= 1 unhealthy ozone days/yr (2002-2006)   Ragweed present only   Neither or missing data
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Average Number, Summer Days Per Year of Extreme Heat, 2000-2009   <= 9.0   9.1 - 13.8 (More than expected)   > 13.8 (More than expected)   Insufficient data in county
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Dengue Fever Vulnerability, 1995-2005 data   Areas vulnerable to dengue fever infection   Counties reporting positive for one or both dengue mosquito vector species, as of 2005   No mosquito vectors reported as of 2005
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2000-2009 Averages, Number of Days Per Year of Extreme Low Flow by Watershed   < 15   15 - 33   > 33   Insufficient flow data
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2000-2009 Averages, Number of Days Per Year of Extreme High Flow by Watershed   < 15   15 - 23   > 23   Insufficient flow data
Floodwatch Stations Number of Days Above Flood Stage Per Year < 1 1 - 10 > 10
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Extreme Weather Events
Record Rainfall
Record temperature
Extreme drought
Record Snowfall
Wildfire
Extreme flooding
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Air Pollution

Many people are facing a double whammy of air quality threats that will worsen with climate change:

  • 34 counties have ragweed pollution.2
  • Asthma sickens an estimated 13,500 kids and 39,400 adults.3

Protect your family from air pollution:

  • Check news reports on the radio, TV, or online for pollen reports or daily air quality conditions. Or visit EPA's Air Now for air quality info and avoid outdoor activity on bad air days particularly for people with asthma or other respiratory diseases.
  • After spending time outdoors, wash off pollen that may have collected on your face, skin, or hair.

Find out more about the effects of air pollution

Extreme Heat

  • The frequency of very hot days will increase; At least 1 county saw record-breaking nighttime temperatures in the summer of 2010.4
  • Summer temperatures could rise 6-9°F (3-5°C) by late century.5

Protect your family from extreme heat:

  • Limit exertion during heat waves and high temperature days, drink plenty of water and take cool showers or baths, and stay inside or in the shade.
  • Check on elderly or at-risk friends or neighbors regularly -- or ask someone to look in on you if you feel vulnerable to heat.

Find out more about the effects of extreme heat

Infectious Diseases

  • 1,293 cases of West Nile virus were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 1999-2010.6
  • 46 cases of Lyme disease were reported to CDC between 1990-2008.7

Protect your family from infectious diseases:

  • When planning international travel, check with the CDC's website for information on recent disease outbreaks and take appropriate precautions.
  • During mosquito season at home, apply insect repellent with 20-30 percent DEET in the mornings and early evenings.

Find out more about the effects of infectious diseases

Drought

  • About 83% of the state's counties now face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century as the result of climate change.8

Protect your family from droughts:

Find out more about the effects of drought

Flooding

  • Heavy rains are expected to be more frequent across the region. Precipitation could jump 30% percent in the state, which increases the chance of flooding.9
  • The state has been declared a disaster area 10 times since 2000, due to storms and flooding that cost millions of dollars in damages.10
  • Combined sewer overflows are a health risk for 3 communities, including North Dakota City.11

Protect your family from floods and related illnesses:

  • Familiarize yourself with your region's vulnerability to flooding and its local emergency evacuation plans.
  • Prepare your own plan -- including where your family will stay in case of flooding and what you'll do if a relative is sickened by contaminated water.

Find out more about the effects of flooding

Extreme Weather

North Dakota experienced in 2011:

  • Record-breaking heat in 15 counties and a total of 18 broken heat records
  • Record-breaking rainfall in 13 counties and a total of 20 broken rainfall records
  • Record-breaking snow in 9 counties and a total of 12 broken snowfall records
  • Multi-million dollar losses from extreme flooding

Protect your family from extreme weather:

Find out more about the effects of extreme weather

  1. U.S. Global Change Research Program. Global Climate Change Impacts in the U.S.Region: Great Plains, 2009.
  2. Natural Resources Defense Council. Sneezing and Wheezing, 2007.
  3. American Lung Association. Estimated Prevalence and Incidence of Lung Disease, 2010.
  4. Natural Resources Defense Council. The Worst Summer Ever? 2010.
  5. U.S. Global Change Research Program. Global Climate Change Impacts in the U.S. Region: Great Plains, 2009.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. West Nile virus Statistics, Surveillance, and Control Archive.
  7. Lyme Disease Association. Total Lyme Cases Reported by CDC 1990-2008. Data compiled from CDC pub data (MMWR), 2009.
  8. Natural Resources Defense Council. Climate Change, Water, and Risk, 2010.
  9. U.S. Global Change Research Program. Global Climate Change Impacts in the U.S. Region: Great Plains, 2009.
  10. Federal Emergency Management Agency. DHS. Declared Disasters by Year or State, 2011.
  11. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Report to Congress: Impacts and Control of CSOs and SSOs. Appendix D: List of Active CSO Permits, 2004.

North Dakota's Changing Climate

  • Average temperatures are already increasing.
  • In the future, with climate change, average temperatures could rise from 2.5°F (1°C) to more than 13°F (7°C) by late century.1
  • Residents will experience greater health risks from increasing heat waves, declining air quality, and both flooding and drought.
  • North Dakota does not have a statewide plan to prepare for the health impacts of climate change.

Climate Change Health Threats in North Dakota

last revised 5/29/2011

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