Preparing for Public Health Impacts of a Changing Climate – Climate change presents serious challenges to public health in New Jersey as well as in the United States and around world. The multidimensional impacts of climate change include direct health effects of more frequent, intense, and longer-lasting extreme heat events that also worsen risks of drought, wildfire, and air pollution risks; increasingly frequent extreme precipitation, intense storms, and changes in precipitation patterns that lead to drought and ecosystem changes, and rising sea levels that intensify coastal flooding and storm surge. In the coming decades, New Jersey can expect an increase in average annual temperature and precipitation, with more rain in the winter. More intense extreme weather events are anticipated, including heat waves, hurricanes, and extreme precipitation events with subsequent flooding. New Jersey is also at risk of more frequent and severe coastal flooding due to sea level rise
The Public Health and Climate Change Working Group is focused on several initial efforts including:
- Advising on the development of a New Jersey Climate and Health Profile Report that will serve to qualitatively describe likely impacts of climate change and anticipated ways in which those impacts will influence health outcomes in New Jersey.
- Examining approaches to quantitatively assess vulnerability and projected disease burden beginning with a proof in concept on compilation of data on temperature and heat;
- Serving as a planning committee for a 2016 statewide public health and climate change workshop; and
- Identifying any immediate efforts (e.g. development of outreach and educational materials) that can and should be undertaken in New Jersey to attain short-term gains of increasing the State’s capacity to prepare for public health impacts from climate change.