Researchers Looking at Future Dengue Forecast Find Intricate Relationships Between Mosquitoes, Virus and Climate ChangePosted: July 5, 2012
Erickson and Hayhoe used a mechanistic population model for a mosquito species that did not necessarily assume a simple, broad shift in disease following mosquito populations.
“This approach allows us to better understand how climate change will affect the mosquito species and diseases transmitted by it,” he said. “Surprisingly, we found that dengue would shift, rather than increase the risk for dengue outbreaks within the southern United States. This occurred because projected climate conditions in the South became too warm and decreased the life expectancy of the Asian tiger mosquito. The shortened life span prevented the mosquito from incubating dengue before it died. Under the projected climate change, we found that dengue outbreaks in the South would be more likely to occur during the spring and fall. Additionally, we found that climate will likely increase northern range of dengue risk within the United States.”
Both researchers said that the study shows just one example of how the effects of climate change can often be nonlinear and counter-intuitive and recommended further study into animal and climate systems to understand how climate change will affect them.