The Relationship of Childhood Gastrointestinal Illness, Untreated Groundwater, and Climate Change Precipitation

by Jasmine Kaur

The control of municipal surface water, groundwater, and private wells in the United States varies from place to place. In general, these regulations are minimal and do not mandate federal monitoring of water quality. This has led to reports of 4.3–16.4 million annual cases of gastrointestinal illnesses (GI) caused by pathogens found in public drinking water systems. Amongst the reasons for GI pathogens transported to the drinking water is increased run off from the increased precipitation association with climate change. Continue reading

The Effect of Climate Change on the Ixodes Tick Success Rate of Transmitting Lyme Disease

by Shannon O’Neill

The potential for a rapid increase of the geographical distribution of ticks and tick-borne pathogens with increasing temperatures is a major public health issue. Therefore, the relationships between the tick, pathogen, hosts, and each of their environments must be better understood in order to effectively manage future outbreaks. Climate change is often considered to be a driving force of increased tick-borne disease. However, the effects of climate on disease are difficult to distinguish from other potential causes. Ostfeld and Brunner (2015) specifically studied the Ixodes tick that spreads Lyme disease in an effort to discern why this tick and the pathogens it transmits have continued to increase with warmer temperatures. The researchers first identified environmental factors for the current tick distribution, then used these factors as a predictor of future suitable tick habitats with climatic changes. Finally, they looked at how various environmental factors sustain both tick populations and the pathogens they transmit. Continue reading

Field-scale manipulation of soil temperature

by Alex Nuffer

Atmospheric CO2 has risen substantially due to an increase in fossil fuel combustion and the clearance of land for agriculture, significantly affecting global climate. Climate models predict that there will be an increase in temperature, as well as a change in precipitation patterns in the future. Variations in climate are likely to modify soil respiration and the soil carbon cycle, causing soil organic carbon to increase or decrease, which will either lead to a positive or negative feedback for atmospheric CO2. Poll et al. (2013) investigated the manipulation of various climate change factors on soil respiration and soil carbon cycle in an arable soil at field-scale in a temperate agricultural ecosystem. The experiment was established on an arable field, where temperature, precipitation amount, and frequency were manipulated to simulate various climate change scenarios. For two years CO2 efflux was measured weekly. Additionally, plant and soil microbial biomass were determined to accurately assess the effects of climate change factors on soil respiration. The results underlined the importance of soil water content to the response of ecosystems to climate change. There was a negative effect of increased soil temperature on soil moisture, which led to water limitation. Soil respiration and microbial biomass under increased soil temperatures were limited by water in the first year, but not in the second year. Altered precipitation showed only minor effects during the entire experiment. The study showed that the soil moisture regime under increased temperatures could determine whether soils are carbon sinks or sources. Continue reading