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UA Researchers Help Make Arizona a Climate-Ready State

The 2017 Arizona Climate and Health Adaptation Plan is co-authored by researchers from the Arizona Department of Health Services, the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and Arizona State University.

A haboob, or dust storm, blowing into Ahwatukee, near Phoenix, as seen from the top of South Mountain, looking south on July 23, 2011. Notice the size of homes in the foreground.

A haboob, or dust storm, blowing into Ahwatukee, near Phoenix, as seen from the top of South Mountain, looking south on July 23, 2011. Notice the size of homes in the foreground.

Extreme weather events—including heat waves, wildfires, dust storms, flooding and drought, along with adverse air quality events—are climate sensitive public health hazards in Arizona.

The Arizona Climate and Health Adaptation Plan is intended to describe activities that state and local agencies may wish to adapt in building resilience against extreme weather events. Co-authored by researchers from the Arizona Department of Health Services, University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and Arizona State University, the report serves as a tool to support public health initiatives as well as to highlight successful local and regional efforts.

Climate-sensitive hazards can create or worsen health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, and can lead to injury or premature death. For example, a heavy downpour can lead to an acute, flash flooding event that poses risk of injury such as falls, lacerations and puncture. Long-term changes in precipitation patterns can modify the suitability of certain regions for vectors (such as mosquitos) that transmit infectious diseases or for the growth of fungus in soils, such as Coccidioides, which causes Valley fever.

Epidemiologists Heidi Brown, PhD, MPH, assistant professor and Erika Barrett, MPH, from the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health, contributed to the report.

“This report highlights not just the expected health impacts of extreme weather, but also some of the initiatives state and local organizations currently do to help Arizonans prepare and respond to extreme events,” said Dr. Brown.

This report was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Climate Ready States and Cities Initiative.

 

The University of Arizona