|USGCRP Home Research Elements & Cross-cutting Activities Human Dimensions of Global Change Fiscal Year 2002 Accomplishments||| Search|
The following are some of the USGCRP's major accomplishments related to Human Dimensions of Global Change during Fiscal Year 2002:
Health Effects of Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation:
Various research projects currently focus on the effects of UV radiation on human health, including basic molecular studies, chemoprevention and risk control research, examinations of immune system function, epidemiological studies, and the development of preventive products and technologies. Epidemiological studies show a higher prevalence of cataracts in regions of the world that have unusually high UV exposure. In addition, scientists have shown that either single high-dose or multiple low-dose UV exposure can produce cataracts in animals. Researchers are studying UV damage of DNA and the repair mechanisms that exist to control such damage, especially those mechanisms that relate to the development of cancer.
8.2. Groundwater Overdraft in Response to Drought in Arizona's
Urban Areas, 2025.
Human Dimensions of the Health Effects of UV Radiation:
A large-scale analysis designed to (1) describe the changing patterns of melanoma mortality rates among whites by demographic factors and geography, and (2) assess the relationship between the geographic patterns and ultraviolet radiation levels, concluded that melanoma mortality in the United States reflects the complex interplay of ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels in each geographic region, the sun-protection behaviors of each generation of males and females in childhood and adulthood, the geographic mobility of the population, and risk awareness and early detection.
Health Effects of Combined Exposures to Climatic and Environmental Factors:
In August 1999, NASA and NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences initiated a joint research project to assess the health effects of combined exposures to climatic and environmental factor s. Preliminary findings on hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases in the city of Denver indicate that higher temperatures do not appear to be an important factor in increasing the hospital admissions except for congestive heart failure. In contrast, exposures to higher air pollutant concentrations (carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone) appear to have an increasing effect on the number of hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases as a whole.
Consequences of Global Change for Human Health:
Ongoing assessments are examining the potential consequences of global change for human health. A recently-completed assessment concluded that at present, most of the U.S. population is protected against adverse health outcomes associated with weather and/or climate change, although certain demographic and geographic populations would be at increased risk. The assessment concluded that vigilance in the maintenance and improvement of public health systems, and their responsiveness to changing climate conditions and to identified vulnerable subpopulations, should help to protect the U.S. population from any adverse health outcomes associated with projected climate change. In another project, a team of researchers found strong links between epidemic bartonellosis, a bacterial disease transmitted to humans through a sand fly, and ENSO-related weather patterns in Cuzco and Caraz, Peru. The team will use these findings to develop an epidemiologic and climate risk model to use as a basis for cost-effective disease control programs.
Regional Assessments of Global Change Consequences:
Ongoing regional assessments are examining the consequences of and responses to global change in natural and human systems.
Integrated Assessment of Response Strategies:
An Integrated Assessment model was developed that, through linked models of urban and global chemistry with economic analysis of all relevant emissions, could analyze the relationship between policies to control greenhouse gases and measures directed to the reduction of urban air pollution. Other types of Integrated Assessment models are also under development. Related research is being carried out through international activities focused on the Asian brown cloud phenomenon.
Institutions and Environmental Change:
Ongoing fundamental research in social, behavioral, and economic sciences is examining human contributions and responses to global change. For example, researchers are studying deforestation, land-use and land-cover change, and the processes through which forest cover is gained and lost. Analyses of the effect of various kinds of government ownership on forest conditions suggest that no simple association exists between forest conditions and specific types of property-rights regimes. Instead, enforcement explains much of the variance found in forest conditions in areas that vary in property-rights regimes.