Quantcast

How Climate Change Influences the Path of Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes

Malaria predictions serve an obvious purpose, but they don't always tell you how susceptible a particular town or village might be.

In fact, a group of professors and researchers found that the likelihood of malaria-carrying mosquitoes showing up in particularly can vary more than most would imagine.

"People might have an interest in predictions for global malaria trends and even more so for regional patterns, but they probably care most about what's going to happen in their own town or village," said Matthew Thomas, a Penn State University professor and Huck Scholar in ecological entomology. "What is likely to happen in one location can be very different from another location just 50 miles down the road."

Thomas and others from Penn State, the Barcelona Centre for International Health Research and the universities of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts found that climate change strongly influences the ability of mosquitoes to transmit malaria and where they might travel.

The ability of mosquitoes to transmit malaria is strongly influenced by environmental temperature, a group of researchers found.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

"Malaria mosquitoes are ectothermic organisms, which means that their body temperature matches the temperature of their direct surroundings," said Krijn Paaijmans, an assistant research professor at the Barcelona Centre for International Health Research.

"Fine-scale predictions of malaria risk will be better tailored to the needs of local communities and can improve local adaptation and mitigation strategies."

The research team set out to examine the malaria risk for four locations. They researchers used a mathematical model that incorporates the influence of temperature on adult mosquitoes' transmission of malaria parasites and compares it to the predictions they obtained in the four locations with predictions from coarse-scale model simulations. The result was over- and underestimation of climate change impacts.

"This is one of the first studies to attempt to explore how climate change might impact conditions at the local level," said Dr. Michael E. Mann, a distinguished professor of meteorology at Penn State.

"The results suggest the possibility that population centers in cool highland regions could be more vulnerable than previously thought, while other equally large lowland areas might be less vulnerable. But this would have to be confirmed with more detailed modeling assessments that take into account the full suite of environmental and socio-economic factors that ultimately determine risk of malaria."

The results are available in the June 19 issue of the Climatic Change journal. The research was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

 

Show Comments ()
Sponsored

Honeybees Are Struggling to Get Enough Good Bacteria

A study published in Ecology and Evolution Monday shows that the big changes humans make to the land can have important consequences for some tiny microorganisms honeybees rely on to stay healthy.

Keep reading... Show less
Palace of Westminster. Alan Wong / Flickr

UK to Review Climate Goals, Explore 'Net-Zero' Emissions Strategy

The UK will review its long-term climate target and explore how to reach "net-zero" emissions by 2050, Environment Minister Claire Perry announced Tuesday.

The UK is the first G7 country to commit to such an analysis, which would seek to align the country's emissions trajectory to the Paris agreement's more ambitious goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C.

Keep reading... Show less
Lesser is greater. The lesser long-nosed bat pollinates agave flowers. Larry Petterborg / Flickr

First Bat Removed From U.S. Endangered Species List Helps Produce Tequila

The lesser long-nosed bat made bat history Tuesday when it became the first U.S. bat species to be removed from the endangered species list because of recovery, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced.

Keep reading... Show less
Toxic fluorinated chemicals in tap water and at industrial or military sites. Environmental Working Group

Fluorinated Chemical Pollution Crisis Spreads

Two decades after pollution from highly toxic fluorinated chemicals was first reported in American communities and drinking water, the number of known contamination sites is growing rapidly, with no end in sight.

The latest update of an interactive map by Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University documents publicly known pollution from so-called PFAS chemicals at 94 industrial or military sites in 22 states. When the map was first published 10 months ago, there were 52 known contamination sites in 19 states. The map and accompanying report are the most comprehensive resources tracking PFAS pollution in the U.S.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular

Plastics: The History of an Ecological Crisis

The Earth Day Network has announced that this year's Earth Day, on Sunday, April 22, will focus on ending plastic pollution by Earth Day 2020, the 50th anniversary of the world's first Earth Day in 1970, which led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of the Clean Water, Clean Air and Endangered Species Acts.

Keep reading... Show less
GMO
Mike Mozart / Flickr

Germany to Put 'Massive Restrictions' on Monsanto Weedkiller

German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner announced Tuesday she is drafting regulation to stop use of glyphosate in the country's home gardens, parks and sports facilities, Reuters reported.

The minister also plans to set "massive restrictions" for its use in agriculture, with exemptions for areas that are prone to erosion and cannot be worked with heavy machinery.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Species Threatened as Climate Crisis Pushes Mother Nature 'Out of Synch'

By Julia Conley

The warming of the Earth over the past several decades is throwing Mother Nature's food chain out of whack and leaving many species struggling to survive, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study offers the latest evidence that the climate crisis that human activity has contributed to has had far-reaching effects throughout the planet.

Keep reading... Show less
EPA memos passed since December weaken air quality controls for the sake of industry. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

EPA Memos Show Sneak Attack on Air Quality

Behind all the media attention focused on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt's many scandals, the agency has quietly passed a series of four memos since December that have a net impact of reducing air pollution controls to benefit industry, The Hill reported Wednesday.

The Hill's report comes just days before the world celebration of Earth Day on Sunday, April 22. The first Earth Day, in 1970, is often credited with leading to the passage of the Clean Air Act that same year, but now the Trump administration seems intent on rolling back that legacy.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!