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Natural Variations In Climate And Human Health Environmental Sciences Essay

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The El Nino/Southern Oscillation is a natural fluctuation in the Earth 's clime. The fluctuations associated with the El Nino/Southern Oscillation may be used as a theoretical account for future clime alteration and its attendant wellness effects.

It is no premise that anthropogenetic clime alteration is happening and the environmental wellness effects associated with it are traveling to be one of the greatest challenges of our clip. As our apprehension of anthropogenetic clime alteration increases it is every bit of import to hold a basic apprehension of natural fluctuations in the Earth 's clime. Furthermore, a better cognition of those countries that experience extremes associated with the El Nino/Southern Oscillation ( ENSO ) may clarify some of the future impacts of planetary clime alteration. The focal point of this literature reappraisal is an scrutiny of the natural fluctuations associated with the ENSO and its impacts on human wellness globally.

I reviewed major findings from publications, thesiss, and internet media sing clime alteration, ENSO, and public wellness. My aim was to reexamine articles that clarify the planetary effects of natural fluctuations in clime, specifically ENSO and wellness by integrating the undermentioned inquiries:

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What is the El Nino/Southern Oscillation?

What are the wellness effects of three chosen illustrations of environmental alterations ( catastrophes ) associated with ENSO.

I have designed my research and reappraisal to follow an Earth scientific discipline position on planetary alteration, adapted from a publication by the Johns Hopkins university imperativeness ( Aaron and Patz 2001 ) .


Get downing with the empirical literature on Earth scientific discipline and public wellness, I foremost reviewed the work of Aaron and Patz ( 2001 ) . The work is a digest of research related to the subject of ecosystem alteration and human wellness. The chapter by Fisher ( 2001, 233-250 ) was peculiarly enlightening and descriptive. It provided a good starting point in understanding what ENSO is. This chapter provided a reasonably comprehensive yet apprehensible account on the `` forces '' behind ENSO, peculiarly the Earth 's energy rhythm. Although this publication is clear, it did n't further a solid reading of the ENSO anomalousness. I attributed this ambiguity to the fact that the range of this book is much broader than the focal point on natural clime variableness.

In seeking to associate proposed and observed wellness effects to the ENSO it is critical to hold a reasonably comprehensive apprehension of what it is. For this intent, I reviewed publications by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ( NOAA ) , the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC ) , and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO ) . The publication by NOAA was presented in an apprehensible yet simplistic format. A part of their web site a page is dedicated to the ENSO, but it does non provided a clear account of what it is. Further research into the NOAA web site led me to the National Weather Service ( NWS ) `` Climate Prediction Center '' , where they have a measure by measure tutorial of ENSO and clime variableness. I performed a qualitative comparing of all ENSO specific literature from the IPCC, NOAA, NWS, and FAO. The four studies had the same basic information, while the IPCC was by far the most comprehensive. The literature reappraisal for this part must be limited to merely a qualitative analysis because the forces behind ENSO are immensely interrelated and complex. A full synthesis of this information is good beyond the range of the paper. The most of import facet of my comparing is specifically related to assorted definitions of ENSO.


I decided to add this subdivision due to the ambiguity I encountered sing the scientific discipline behind ENSO. As my research progressed it became clear that this ambiguity was non due to a deficiency of information, but due to a general consensus that the factors doing ENSO are extremely legion and interconnected. In consequence, a quantitative definition of ENSO can non be exactly developed. Furthermore, what constitutes a quantitative ENSO in one portion of the universe is different in other parts, hence any quantitative definition of ENSO would hold to be location specific ( Ternberth 1997 ) . In my comparing of the above literature, the definitions of ENSO were all qualitative and similar. For this ground I sought specific literature sing the definition of ENSO. The most formal definition that encompasses the battalion of utilizations is as follows:

El Nino 'el ne - ' nyo - noun [ Spanish ] 1:

The Christ Child 2: the name given by Peruvian crewmans to a seasonal, warm southward-moving current along the Peruvian seashore & lt ; la corriente del Nino & gt ; 3: name given to the occasional return of remarkably warm H2O in the usually cold H2O [ upwelling ] part along the Peruvian seashore, interrupting local fish and bird populations 4: name given to a Pacific basin-wide addition in both sea surface temperatures in the cardinal and/or eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean and in sea degree atmospheric force per unit area in the western Pacific ( Southern Oscillation ) 5: used interchangeably with ENSO ( El Nino-Southern Oscillation ) which describes the basin broad alterations in air-sea interaction in the equatorial Pacific part 6: ENSO warm event equivalent word warm event opposite word La Nina [ Spanish ] the immature miss ; cold event ; ENSO cold event ; non-El Nino twelvemonth ; anti-El Nino or anti-ENSO ( dyslogistic ) ; El Viejo 'el vya- Ho - noun [ Spanish ] the old adult male.

( Glantz 1996 )


Harmonizing to Kovats ( 1996 ) , `` The consequence of El Nino on catastrophes is strong plenty to be evident at a planetary degree. In an mean El Nino twelvemonth, around 35 per 1000 people are affected by a natural disaster-more than four times that in non-El Nino old ages, based on 1963-93 informations '' ( 1483 ) . The wellness impacts of natural catastrophes are both immediate and long lasting ( Haines, et Al. 2006 ) . In order to derive a better apprehension of the specific wellness impacts of ENSO catastrophes I reviewed literature based on the two major conditions events associated with ENSO, heavy rainfall and drouth. I farther separated these events into three degrees of badness: 1 ) Drought ; 2 ) increased rainfall ; 3 ) Deluging. In add-on, I want to synthesise this information to give an overview of the planetary effects of ENSO from developing to developed states.


ENSO as defined above is an addition in sea surface temperature in normally cool H2O in the eastern Pacific Ocean. During a terrible ENSO the warm H2O that remains suspended in the western Pacific travels east, therefore diminishing rainfall in the West Pacific and increasing it in the eastern Pacific. This alteration alters the rainfall patterns across the Earth. Harmonizing to Haines et Al. ( 2006 ) , the figure of people worldwide affected by drouth is influenced strongly by the ENSO rhythm. Droughts have a broad consequence on wellness runing from nutrition to forest fires doing air pollution, peculiarly in low-income states. Haines et al. raise of import inquiries on the construct of exposure and unexpected wellness results.

Vulnerability has been discussed in literature as a cardinal construct for understanding how populations adapt to climate alteration and variableness ( Mertz, et al 2009 ; Moran, et Al. 2006 ; Patz and Kovats 2002 ; Solomon, et Al. 2007 ) . It is widely accepted that the most vulnerable populations to climate alteration and fluctuation occupy the low income developing states. This has a great trade to make with the fact that many dwellers of developing states rely to a great extent on subsistence agribusiness.

Furthermore, with drought one would anticipate malnutrition but there can be many other unanticipated wellness effects. As a specific illustration I refer to Moran et Al. ( 2006 ) and the survey of ENSO related drouth in Amazonia. This paper provides a good description of the exposures of developing states to drought and its unexpected wellness results. Moran et Al. depict this relationship by associating increased forest fires due to ENSO and swidden agribusiness with inauspicious respiratory wellness effects caused by fume and particulate affair.

The most ENSO drought prone countries include: Sub-saharan and southeasterly Africa, northern Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, western Pacific Island Nations, and north-east Brazil. Most of these countries lay within developing states of the southern hemisphere, which are besides the most vulnerable to these conditions extremes.

Increased Rain

Although the most vulnerable groups to climate alteration and fluctuation are the developing states, this does n't intend that effects are limited to these geographic countries. ENSO has really of import wellness effects around the Earth. Literature sing increased rainfall and increased incidence of hanta virus pneumonic syndrome ( HPS ) in the sou'-west United States serves as an illustration of ENSO wellness effects in developed states. Harmonizing to the Centers for Disease Control ( 2004 ) , during an ENSO event increased rainfall across the southern parts of the United States every bit good as parts of Central/South America creates an improved gnawer home ground, the major vector of HPS. The literature by the CDC is web-based and although it has been updated in is in direct relation to the 1998-99 ENSO event. In a thesis by Conley ( 2006 ) , an in-depth survey of HPS in the sou'-west United States is conducted.

Conely ( 2006 ) describes the increased incidence of HPS in the southwest U.S. with endorsing from the trophic cascade hypothesis. The southwesterly cervid mouse is the primary vector for HPS in worlds. During an ENSO event the sum of flora is increased due to increased rainfall. In consequence, the population denseness of cervid mice is increased and so is HPS. As the ENSO warm event passages into a cold event ( La Nina ) , rainfall lessenings in the southwest U.S. and these rodent populations begin looking for nutriment in human homes. The increased contact between septic gnawers and worlds increases the incidence of HPS.

Other literature ( Kovats 1999 ; Patz and Kovats 2002 ; Haines 2006 ; Parmesan and Martens, 2009 ) describes farther instances of ENSO and increased infective disease incidence as a consequence of increased rainfall. Further surveies have found positive correlativities between ENSO and malaria, rift vale disease, cholera, and others.


Implosion therapy is the most common natural catastrophe in both development and developed states ( Ahern, et al 2005 ) . For this part of the paper I reviewed epidemiologic grounds of inundation related wellness impacts and ENSO events. On a planetary graduated table, ENSO is non associated with hazard of flood-related catastrophes because inundations are really localised ( Kovats 1999 ) . However, the increased rainfall associated with ENSO has specific effects on the water partings of many states

throughout the universe. Harmonizing to Patz and Kovats ( 2002 ) ENSO frequently increases the hazard of implosion therapy of rivers. Besides:

`` Immediate effects are mostly decease from submerging and hurts caused by being swept against difficult objects. Medium term effects include additions in catching diseases caused by consumption of contaminated H2O ( for illustration, cholera or hepatitis A ) and contact with inundation Waterss ( for illustration, swamp fever ) . '' ( pg. 1096 )

In inundation conditions, there is a greater possible for increased transmittal of disease, particularly in countries where the population does non hold entree to clean H2O and sanitation ( Ahern, et Al. 2005 ) .

Direct illustrations of increased disease transmittal as a consequence of ENSO related implosion therapy is seen in Brazil where hazard factors for swamp fever included implosion therapy of unfastened cloacas and streets. Furthermore, the 1982 El Nino event caused extended implosion therapy in several states in Latin America and fostered crisp additions in malaria ( Ahern, et al 2005 ) .


This reappraisal provided a brief expression at the ENSO anomalousness and its effects on human wellness. ENSO increases the hazard of drouths and inundations across the Earth. In add-on, there is strong epidemiologic grounds that supports an association of these events and the transmittal of certain diseases. These associations and the affects p the Earth, but the most vulnerable populations are those in the underdeveloped states. The literature reviewed nem con agreed that ( in the short term ) there is a drastic demand to supply information and tools that let these populations to fix for such conditions anomalousnesss. Particularly in countries where ENSO can faithfully be associated with regional or local clime fluctuations such as drouths and inundations ( Kovats, et Al. 1999 ; Moran, et Al. 2006 ; Haines, et Al. 2006 ) .

Furthermore, long term guesss in the literature agree as clime continues to increase there is a high likeliness that ENSO conditions anomalousnesss will beef up in badness, continuance, and frequence ( Ashok and Yamagata 2009 ) . An accurate apprehension of this will supply a greater ability for all to restrict exposure to climatic fluctuations and make new schemes for wellness contrivers to cut down disease hazard.

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