Report: Climate change poses health risks for all Hoosiers

Over the coming decades, higher temperatures, more extreme weather events and reduced air quality due to climate change in Indiana will likely pose significant health risks for all Hoosiers – and especially children, the elderly, people with chronic health conditions and low-income families - according to the latest report from the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment (IN CCIA) based at Purdue University.

The report, Hoosiers’ Health in a Changing Climate,” detailing the future issues that will plague us is available at http://indianaclimate.org.

Jeff Dukes, director of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, said that while some segments of the population face greater health risks than others, all Indiana residents will be affected by changing climate conditions.

“As Midwesterners, we know that hot, humid weather can be dangerous and even deadly,” he said. “Together, heat and humidity make it difficult for the body to keep cool, increasing the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.”

Some major points addressed in the report:

  • Injuries and deaths caused by extreme heat are projected to increase, while injuries and deaths caused by extreme cold are projected to decrease. Overall, the number of temperature-related deaths in Indiana is expected to increase, and potentially even double by mid-century.

  • Indiana’s allergy season is projected to lengthen by a month by mid-century due to a longer growing season.

  • In the past 30 years, the mosquito population in Indianapolis has increased by 500 percent. Greater rainfall and warmer temperatures are expected to continue this trend and will provide living conditions for the more “tropical” mosquitoes that carry diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and Zika.

This first report, which is a part of the series Indiana’s Past and Future Climate, addressing historical patterns and future projections for climate change in the state, is available at http://indianaclimate.org.

For more information about the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment, including a full media packet with publication-ready images, visit the homepage at http://indianaclimate.org