Climate-Change Heatwaves Will Cause Mental Health Crises in Miami, Study Warns

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published this report this week (Monday 8th October 2018) saying that the greenhouse emissions are at their highest at present and at given rates they could spell disaster. Earlier the scientists had predicted a 2 degrees Celsius rise in earth's temperature could have unsafe consequences.

Scientists picked all the information from climate econometrics to understand if there are any links between mental health and climatic conditions in the past. "It is time to act on mental health".

The study's lead author, Nick Obradovich, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, told CNN it's not totally clear why increasing temperatures result in increasing mental-health issues, but the data is clear. He warned that a 2 degree Celsius rise can push human mental health over the edge.

The participants were asked to report their mental health status, stress, anxiety, depression and mood changes over 30 days.

"The most important point of this new study is that climate change, indeed, is affecting mental health, and certain populations (women and the poor) are disproportionally impacted", said Dr. Jonathan Patz, a professor, and director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said. Further precipitation days also raised mental health problems they noted. Researchers warned that as the earth's temperatures rose, the rain fall also increased due to increased water evaporation.

More specifically, the study determined that there was a 0.5 increase in mental health difficulties for people in a month that averaged over 86 degrees Fahrenheit when compared to a month with an average between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, they also reported that a 1 degree Celsius increase in average temperature was associated with a 2 percentage point increased prevalence of mental health issues. Likewise, natural disasters, such as major hurricanes or flooding incidents, leads to a four percent jump in mental-crisis risk. However, "there are many other place-specific factors that may moderate the effect". However, according to a new study, the effects of the rising global temperature would not just be environmental.

Especially significant given the dire United Nations climate change report is the authors' finding that people affected by Hurricane Katrina had a 4 percent higher prevalence of mental-health issues than people in comparably sized communities who had not experienced a natural disaster.