Climate change, if left unaddressed, is expected to increase air pollution-related deaths
by nearly 60,000 in 2030
and 2,60,000 in 2100 globally, a study has claimed.
According to the study, hotter temperatures speed up the chemical reactions that create air pollutants like ozone and fine particulate matters, which impact public health.
Locations that get drier may also have worse air pollution
because of less removal by rain and increased fires and windblown dust. As trees respond to higher temperatures, they will also emit more organic pollutants, the researchers said.
"As climate change
affects air pollutant concentrations, it can have a significant impact on health
worldwide, adding to the millions of people who die from air pollution
each year," said lead researcher Jason West, Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For the study which appeared in the journal Nature Climate Change
, the team used an ensemble of several global climate models to determine the number of premature deaths
that would occur due to ozone and particulate matter in 2030
For each model, the team assessed the projected changes in ground-level air pollution
that could be attributed to future climate change.
They then overlaid these changes spatially on the global population, accounting for both population growth and expected changes in susceptibility to air pollution.
Five out of eight models predicted there will be more premature deaths
in 2030 and seven of nine models in 2100.
"Our finding that most models show a likely increase in deaths
is the clearest signal yet that climate change
will be detrimental to air quality and health," West noted.
In addition to exacerbating air pollution-related deaths, climate change
is expected to affect health
through changes in heat stress, access to clean water and food, severe storms and the spread of infectious diseases, the researchers said.
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