Impacts of climate change on infectious diseases

Hosted by Andy Morse

The talk will start by reviewing the concepts of an epidemic and where possible use the current COVID-19 pandemic as an example.

The major weather forecast centres around the world produce many types of predictions and projections looking forward over different time ranges, from the weather 24 hours ahead to climate change at the end of this century. Few of these outputs are ever tailored into products for use by other specialists – those for example in agriculture, water planning or health. There is a particular gap when it comes to using these forecasts for predicting the risk of infectious diseases, especially for vector-borne diseases, in the tropics.

This talk will focus on vector-borne disease, malaria, the development of malaria models, and their current use when driven by numerical forecasts of both weather and climate variability. The pioneering work on malaria of Ross (Nobel Prize, 1902) and that of MacDonald in the 1950s, has allowed over time the development of mathematical models adapting the Ross-MacDonald model concept. At one stage malaria models were as advanced as the weather models of their day. However, malaria modelling fell behind with the advent of large powerful computers and government-organised numerical weather prediction in the 1970s, 1980s and through to the present day.

We will present up-to-date developments, especially in operationalising the Liverpool Malaria Model and the tailored production of these model outputs.

Andy Morse is Professor of Climate Impacts in the School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, U.K. His Ph.D. is in Atmospheric Physics from the University of Manchester, and he works on the impacts of climate variability and climate change on human and animal health. He is best known for his work at seasonal scales using ensemble predictions of seasonal climate variability on vector bone diseases. He has worked with a range of infectious diseases including malaria, Rift Valley fever, dengue and Zika. Much of his work has been focussed on sub-Saharan Africa. Andy also works on longer climate change impacts on infectious disease using outputs from a range of global climate models, using probabilistic approaches to bound the uncertainties in projections. He has over 100 publications and was co-awarded the 2006 World Meteorological Organisation’s Norbert Gerbier-MUMM International award for the work on integrating impacts models within seasonal ensemble forecasting systems. 

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One hour

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