A study published this month in the journal Climatic Change asserts that 100,000 adults could lose their lives annually as a result of air pollution made worse by global warming. Researchers used atmospheric modeling to run an advanced global simulation that predicts global temperatures will rise 2.7 degrees Celsius and precipitation will increase 6 percent. These factors would influence the amount of pollutants in the air and make air pollution a more potent killer.
The study, conducted by Dr. Yuanyuan Fang and colleagues, found that climate change would have a profound affect on the amount of ozone and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere. Health risks would be greatest over heavily populated areas in East Asia, South Asia, and North America. Weaker weather patterns over the northeastern United States could stagnate the air, keeping pollution hovering over urban populations.
Assuming that the level of air pollution remains constant, increased pressure from climate change would translate into 100,000 more adult deaths annually from respiratory diseases due to inhalation of polluted air. Corresponding years of life lost were calculated to be upwards of 900,000 based on statistics provided by the World Health Organization. In order to reduce mortality, the scientists urge a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and warming aerosols in addition to traditional air pollutants.
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