Experts warn of more climate shocks from global warming at hill-sponsored briefing

September 16, 2004

Health/Heat Waves/Hurricanes/Global Warming: Experts warn there may be more climate "shocks and surprises" associated with global warming, causing more impacts for human health and welfare. The scientists will present findings to congress on September 20 at a briefing organized by the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School and sponsored by Sen. Snow (R-ME), Sen. Nelson (D-NB), Congressmen Gilchrest (R-MD) and Congressmen Olver (D-MA).

Greenhouse warming is expected to lead in future years to even more intense and frequent extreme weather events, with associated impacts for human health and well-being. The 2003 European summer heat wave and the six consecutive years of drought in the western U.S. (the worst in 500 years) are examples of very extreme events and "climate shocks and surprises." The spate of intense and immense storms in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans this season are further examples of the growing extremes. In addition to the impacts for health and the economy, scientists are concerned that the increasing severity and volatility of weather could herald sudden shifts with major impacts on health and society.

The briefings will examine the health impacts of extreme events associated with global warming, including heat waves, pest infestations, fires, the spread of infectious disease ( such as West Nile virus), and the connections between ocean warming and the intensity of hurricanes now occurring.

*Paul Epstein, associate director, Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment
*Laurence S. Kalkstein, senior research fellow at University of Delaware's Center for Climatic Research
*Ruth Curry, research specialist and physical oceanographer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Monday, September 20, 2004
9:30-11:00 AM

Capitol Building HC-6,
Washington, D.C.
Kathleen Frith, Center for Health and the Global Environment, 617-384-8591,
On event day, please call cell phone number 617-230-0357

Harvard Medical School

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