We know that weather extremes can be devasting to human health, and some of these events – mainly temperature extremes –  are increasing in their frequency, intensity and duration because of climate change. However, human health and socio-economic systems are likely not designed to cope with this increasing stress. We therefore discuss challenges on how changes in weather extremes due to climate change may impact human health and underpinning infrastructure.

We discuss the solid evidence that increases in the frequency, intensity and duration of heatwaves is already occurring, with these trends worsening as climate change increases. However there is some uncertainty into the changing nature of droughts and extreme rainfall. Therefore, focus on building resilience in health and health infrastructure needs to deal with the future effects of extreme events – both due to climate change and climate variability. If we do not build resilience, disastrous impacts will likely ensue that we currently have no benchmark or understanding of.

Paper: Perkins-Kirkpatrick, S. and A.J. Pitman, 2018, Extreme events in the context of climate change, Public Health Research and Practice, 28, e2841825, doi: 10.17061/phrp2841825