Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including impacts from increased extreme weather events, wildfire, poor air quality and illnesses transmitted by food, water and disease carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks. This section explores some of these impacts and the associated data within ClimateData.ca relevant to human health.
Climate change may result in various emergency situations that can quickly intensify and have important repercussions for health. Overwhelming heat, extreme cold, poor air quality, storms and other natural catastrophes can cause an increase in the number of emergency hospital admissions, ambulance transports, hospitalisations and even deaths.
In Canada, essential infrastructure, such as food production facilities, water management, energy production, storm sewers, homes and hospitals, is often designed and constructed according to the meteorological conditions which existed before the advent of climate change. As such, their inability to cope with conditions outside of their design specifications can lead to risks to the health of the population.
During the initial development phase for ClimateData.ca, Ouranos coordinated efforts to consult users of the health sector. This included the preparation of a bilingual survey to identify the most important health impacts, and related climate indices, to be considered on the website and how climate information should be presented to be of most use to stakeholders in this sector.