The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest assessment of the impacts of climate change on human health suggests that more and more palm springs may be experiencing an increasing risk of earthquakes.
The report is the first to assess the effects of climate on the occurrence and severity of palm springs and to investigate the mechanisms underlying these changes.
It found that a warmer atmosphere and increased water flow in the tropics has led to a rise in the occurrence of palm spring shocks and is linked to a significant increase in the frequency of earthquakes in these areas.
The WHO’s study comes just months after a US research team estimated that up to 50 per cent of the world’s population could suffer from an increase in earthquake-related health problems.
The study’s authors concluded that climate change is likely to cause a rise of 3.5 per cent in the risk of severe, damaging earthquakes in the next 25 years, which they say would be more than twice the global average.
The researchers estimate that there are around 15 million hectares of land at risk of drought in the US.
“The risk of a 5.1 magnitude earthquake in one of the United States’ 20 most populated counties is roughly equivalent to the annual number of people in the entire state of California,” they wrote.
“More than 40 per cent more land is at risk in the western half of the country.”
The study did not specifically consider the risk posed by climate change in the Philippines, but it did state that climate-related shocks may be increasing in frequency.
“While the magnitude of the recent Philippine earthquakes has not yet been confirmed, we estimate that a 5-fold increase in seismic activity could increase the probability of an earthquake by an order of magnitude by 20-fold,” the authors wrote.
The impact of climate changes on human-induced disasters is not just the question of where an earthquake occurs, but also where it strikes and how it triggers.
In Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) latest climate outlook states that there is a “possibility” of an increase of up to 6.5 magnitude earthquakes in Australia by 2040, which the bureau expects to be “largely driven by changes in climate”.
This is in contrast to the findings of the University of Melbourne’s (UOM) study, which found that an increase is likely in the proportion of all earthquakes in New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria that would be caused by human-caused earthquakes.
“This paper looks at the likelihood of climate-induced earthquakes in each state,” UOM Director of Research Professor Robert Erikson said.
“In the last 10 years we’ve already seen a large increase in earthquakes, and the rate of the increase has been exponential.
It’s pretty significant.””
It’s hard to put a figure on this, but we think that it could be a lot higher than the current rate.”
While the UOM report did not include the effects that climate changes could have on the Australian climate, its conclusions did highlight the “uncertainty” surrounding climate change.
“One of the most important factors in the analysis of the risk associated with climate change has been the uncertainty associated with how climate change will affect the climate system and how that will affect human-driven disasters,” the UO authors said.
“Climate change has had a significant impact on the risk and vulnerability of the environment.
We cannot assume that climate effects are completely deterministic and cannot attribute all of these effects to climate change alone.”
Although the magnitude and distribution of climate impacts on human communities are well known, climate-driven effects, which have been observed in many different locations and in different ways, are less well understood.
“The UOM authors concluded: “There is a growing body of evidence that suggests climate change can affect the physical, biological and social systems of communities and the human experience.
“The extent to which climate change contributes to changes in the human condition and the ability of humans to adapt to those changes is not yet known, but the consequences of climate effects and their implications for human well-being, and therefore on our global well-beings and health, are being debated and will continue to be so.”
The research was carried out by scientists from the University’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (SEAS) and the School of Human Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (SHEB).AAP/ABCTopics:earth-sciences,environment,earth-health,environmental-impact,environment-management,tas