Our achievements in climate change

We have identified significant impacts of climate change on health.

Examples of our achievements include:

The impact of climate change on cholera 
  • Our analysis of data on environmental variables and the incidence of cholera revealed a significant correlation between changing temperatures and rainfall and changing patterns of disease in Bangladesh.
  • a This analysis was used to develop a predictive model for cholera based on key environmental measures such as temperature, rainfall and humidity.
  • Further work is underway to develop usable models to enable local decision-makers to prepare for upcoming disease outbreaks. 
Weather and mortality
  • In an analysis of more than 25 years of data, we found that temperature and rainfall show strong seasonal patterns, and are strongly associated with mortality in all age groups.
  • Our analysis of data collected between 1983 and 2009 at Matlab and by the Bangladesh Meteorological Department revealed that weather and extreme weather were associated with mortality, with differential impacts in age and sex subgroups.
  • We also undertook a small-scale screen for arsenic contamination in Matlab, the findings from which could inform policy-making for future water resources management in light of climate change and sea-level rise.
Tubewell water salinity
  • An ongoing study is investigating seasonal variation in tubewell water salinity and its possible links to hypertension in coastal areas of Bangladesh.
  • Preliminary results suggest that salinity levels are higher than Bangladesh standard for safe drinking water in two out of five study areas even in the rainy season.
  • Future sea-level rise and saltwater incursion could further increase tubewell water salinity in coastal areas.
Coastal population health
  • With partners from UK universities, we led the socio-economic survey strand of the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) Deltas project, collecting household questionnaire survey data in nine coastal districts (as well as data on water salinity, anthropometric information and blood pressure).
  • We found that drinking water salinity was higher than Bangladesh safe drinking water standards in four study areas, and there was an association between increasing levels of drinking water salinity and the prevalence of hypertension.
  • Work is continuing on the ESPA Deltas project, which is likely to generate significant findings on the health and wellbeing of coastal communities.