Climate Change and Your Health

Climate Change Health Threats in New Hampshire

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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:

  • All 10 counties have ragweed pollution, and Hillsborough County suffers from both unhealthy smog levels and ragweed.3
  • Asthma sickens an estimated 27,600 kids and 105,200 adults.4

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

See more about New Hampshire's state action plan for air pollution

Extreme Heat

  • By late century, Concord and Manchester could experience nearly 70 days over 90°F (32°C) and more than 20 days over 100°F (38°C).5
  • One county saw record-breaking nighttime temperatures in the summer of 2010.6

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

See more about New Hampshire's state action plan for extreme heat

Infectious Diseases

  • 15 cases of Dengue Fever were reported between 1995-2005, and 4 counties have a type of mosquito that can transmit the virus (as of 2005).7
  • 4 cases of West Nile virus were reported to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 1999-2010.8
  • 4,586 cases of Lyme disease were reported to CDC between 1990-2008.9

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

See more about New Hampshire's state action plan for infectious disease

Drought

  • Temperature increases in the summer increase the likelihood of drought.10
  • About 70% of the state's counties now face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century as the result of climate change.11
  • Parts of the state are likely to see limitations on water availability as demand exceeds supply by 2050.12

Protect your family from droughts:

  • Visit EPA's WaterSense for tips on conserving water, such as replacing leaky pipes.
  • Agricultural water users can find conservation options with a local Cooperative Extension Service agent, or the US Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Find out more about the effects of drought

See more about New Hampshire's state action plan for drought

Flooding

  • The region is expected to see a 20-30% increase in precipitation by late century, and sea level rise jeopardizes coastal communities.13
  • The state has been declared a disaster area 8 times since 2000, due to severe storms and flooding.14 Between 2005-2007, major floods that damaged homes, caused deaths, and cost millions of dollars.15
  • Combined sewer overflows are a health risk for 6 communities, including Manchester and Portsmouth.16

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

See more about New Hampshire's state action plan for flooding

Extreme Weather

New Hampshire experienced in 2011:

  • Record-breaking heat in 5 counties and a total of 12 broken heat records
  • Record-breaking rainfall in 6 counties and a total of 27 broken rainfall records
  • Record-breaking snow in 9 counties and a total of 20 broken snowfall records

Protect your family from extreme weather:

Find out more about the effects of extreme weather

See more about New Hampshire's state action plan for extreme weather

New Hampshire's Climate Adaptation Strategy

Air Pollution:

New Hampshire's strategy to prepare for climate change includes a measure to strengthen the ability of local emergency services to respond to days with unhealthy air quality.

Extreme Heat:

New Hampshire's strategy to prepare for climate change includes a measure to strengthen the ability of local emergency services to respond to heat waves and temperature extremes. The city of Keene's strategy includes measures to create cooling shelters and emergency response policies for extreme weather events.

Infectious Disease:

New Hampshire's and the city of Keene's strategies to prepare for climate change include measures to improve infectious disease forecasting and surveillance.

New Hampshire's climate preparedness strategy includes the following measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases due to climate change:

  • Better data/analysis for vector borne disease forecasting and an understanding of what indicators to track.
  • Create a coalition of state agencies that will develop, update, consolidate, and/or integrate disease surveillance.

The city of Keene's climate preparedness strategy includes the following measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases due to climate change:

  • Develop a program that identifies various vector control methods and policies to apply those methods.
  • Anticipate the arrival of new vectors and associated diseases and identify alternative methods to control or eradicate those vectors (develop early detection and warning systems, review the use of spraying and consider the health implications of those actions, etc.).
  • Continue to train and educate staff and the public regarding current and future diseases and associated vectors.
  • Increase special fund for training, monitoring, and education by 100% in five years.

Drought:

New Hampshire's strategy to prepare for climate change identifies drought as a health-related threat due to climate change but does not include specific measures to address this threat. The city of Keene's strategy includes a measure to increase Keene's water storage capabilities in the face of drought conditions.

Flooding:

New Hampshire's and the city of Keene's strategies to prepare for climate change identify flooding as a health-related threat due to climate change but does not include specific measures to address this threat.

Extreme Weather:

New Hampshire's climate preparedness strategy identifies extreme weather events as a climate change-related health threat but does not include specific measures to address this threat.

  • The city of Keene's climate preparedness plan identifies extreme weather events as a climate change-related health threat but does not include specific measures to address this threat.

Find out more

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

New Hampshire's Changing Climate

  • Average temperatures are increasing, along with extreme heat, storms, summer droughts, and unhealthy air days.1
  • In the future, with climate change, temperatures could increase by an average of 9-13°F (5-7°C) in the winter and 6-14°F (3-8°C) in the summer by late century.2
  • Residents will face greater health risks from extreme heat, declining air quality, floods, waterborne illnesses, drought, and infectious diseases.
  • New Hampshire has a strategy to prepare for the health impacts of climate change. The city of Keene has also developed a preparedness plan.

Climate Change Health Threats in New Hampshire

last revised 5/29/2011

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