The Impact on Human Health of Climate and Climate Change: Research in the ENSEMBLES Project from Seasonal to Centennial Timescales

  • Chris D. Hewitt
Part of the Advances in Global Change Research book series (AGLO, volume 30)


Human health is affected by climatic conditions, and our understanding of climate-health relationships is improving, as is our ability to predict the weather and climate. Predicting natural climate variability and the future climate is a major challenge because of complicated processes and interactions in the Earth system. The best tools for this task are physically based climate models. However, the predictions are inherently probabilistic because of uncertainties in the models and the experimental design. The uncertainties can be explored by carrying out a well-designed set of integrations of climate models, to produce an ensemble of results. An ensemble climate forecast system is being developed within the EU ENSEMBLES project for use across a range of timescales (seasonal, decadal and longer) and spatial scales (global, regional and local). The model system will be used to construct probabilistic scenarios of future climate change and climate variability. The outputs of the ensemble prediction system will be used to drive a wide range of applications including health. In the past, assessments of the impacts of climate change have often used climate means, but in numerous applications, particularly health, it is the climatic extremes that are more important. The focus on extreme events in the ENSEMBLES project will be particularly useful in this regard. The workshop on “Climate, Climatic Change and its Impacts on Human Health” took place at the beginning of the second year of the ENSEMBLES project, which was timely: methodologies and techniques for probabilistic predictions were being developed, which could be useful for climate-health studies, and climate model simulations had been carried out.


ENSEMBLES climate climate change health impacts 


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Copyright information

© Met Office, UK 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris D. Hewitt
    • 1
  1. 1.Met OfficeHadley Centre for Climate Prediction and ResearchExeterUK

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