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Malena Caruso/MEDILL

The morning sessions of the Climate Change Symposium at Northwestern University focused on evidence of the earth's climate changing and how this change can affect your health.     

Heat waves and Arctic lakes show the earth is warming: Your health hangs in the balance

by Malena Caruso
March 10, 2012

Blue Dot-NASA

Courtesy of NASA

Sea levels are expected to rise faster than scientists originally predicted as the pace of melting ice in the Arctic increases.



Temperatures on earth have increased by only about 1.5 degrees, even with the emissions of human driven global warming. So what?

"If you took the high temperature in Evanston today, look what happens  if you shift the mean and push the average over a little bit," said Dr. Aaron Bernstein, associate director of Harvard University's Center for Health and the Global Environment. "Instead of a little sliver of days when it's every very hot, you have a huge number of days."

And he walked the audience through the increased toll of heat stroke, violent behavior and even suicide with global warming. 

He kicked off Northwestern University's Third Annual Climate Change Symposium, speaking to a packed audience. Bernstein focused on evidence that the earth's climate is changing due to human use of fossil fuels and the how this change in climate can affect our health.

John Smol, professor at Queen's University in Ontario, explained how Arctic lakes can show that the earth is warming. Northwestern astrobiologist Matthew Hurtgen explained how ocean chemistry can help us predict climate conditions of the past and future.

The afternoon sessions focused on what can me done to slow climate change in Evanston and around the world.

The symposium was sponsored by Northwestern's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, the Program in Environmental Policy and Change and the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern.