US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in New Directions in Conservation Medicine: Applied Cases in Ecological Health, edited by A. Alonso Aguirre, Richard S. Ostfield, and Peter Daszak (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).


U.S. Government Work


The International Panel on Climate Change has made an unequivocal case that the earth's climate is changing in profound ways, and that human activities are contributing significantly to climate disruption (IPCC 2007). The weight of evidence demonstrates warming global temperatures, changing patterns of precipitation, and increasing climate variability, with more extreme events. Thus, the physical underpinnings of ecology are changing, with pervasive effects on disease dynamics. Interactions among environment, hosts, and pathogens drive disease processes, and climate change will influence every interaction in this triad, directly and indirectly.