Introduction: Consequences of global warming to the public's health

William N. Rom, Kent E Pinkerton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Global warming from anthropogenic-derived greenhouse gases has consequences including climate change and public health risks. Measurements of these changes began in 1959 with the International Geophysical Year where CO2 was measured atop Mauna Loa in Hawaii. CO2 measurements were 316 ppm in 1959, and annual averages have increased until 2010 where it was 389.8 ppm. In 2010 the increase was 2.4 ppm, the largest 1-year increase recorded since 1998. CO2 represents about 63 % of the greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases reflect infrared radiation back to the earth's surface causing a warming effect. Global warming has a major effect on climate over time which differentiates climate change from weather which is short-term changes over hours or days. CO2 has major sinks such as the oceans and peat bogs across the Arctic and taiga, and CO2 is utilized by plants and forests in metabolism. Anthropogenic sources through burning oil and natural gas for transportation or heating, burning of forest lands for slash and burn agriculture, or burning coal have emitted CO2 increasing substantially since the industrial revolution. This has been efficiently stored in CO2 sinks. Only over the past 50 years have anthropogenic sources been prodigious enough to actually exceed the natural sinks and increase the global recordings of greenhouse gases and temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGlobal Climate Change and Public Health
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781461484172
ISBN (Print)9781461484165
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Anthropogenic sources
  • Biosphere consequences
  • CO measurements
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Human health
  • Radiative forcing
  • Social stability
  • Vector-borne diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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