CLIMADEMIC from the BMBF funding measure "Junior Research Groups Global Change: Climate, Environment and Health" researches climate-related hazards, such as pandemics, for human health in the future
How do climate-related risk factors affect future pandemics? The junior research group CLIMADEMIC is investigating which global health risks people will have to prepare for due to climate change, among other things.
Ongoing globalisation and the extensive impact of humanity on the Earth's climate, ecosystems and wildlife are already showing negative consequences for societal health. These include increasing heat-related deaths, the spread of antimicrobial resistance in the environment and climate-induced shifts in the habitats of wild animals that transmit diseases to humans, so-called zoonoses. In combination, these changes lead to multi-layered and potentially self-reinforcing disease dynamics with entirely new public health challenges for the future. The aim of the research project CLIMADEMIC (Deriving Governing Laws for Pandemic Dynamics in the Earth's changing Climate) is to find, systematise and predict coupling mechanisms between the changing climate and pandemic dynamics. There are two core questions behind this project:
- What are the links and interactions between anthropogenic climate change and public health?
- How can climate-related risk factors for the emergence and spread of diseases be identified and resilience measures against these factors be developed?
To this end, the latest climate data and models are combined with results from infection biology, disease dynamics and bioinformatics. Machine learning and methods of causal inference (cause-effect relationship) are applied to develop the most holistic analysis tools possible, which can map the available data streams and learn dynamic processes.
These interdisciplinary tools will then be used to develop risk assessments of future pandemic dynamics based on the climate projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Thus, the junior research group will contribute to a new understanding and resilience to climate-related health threats.
The BMBF is funding CLIMADEMIC with 1.7 million euros from 2023 to 2028.
Dr Christopher Irrgang
Robert Koch Institute, Centre for Artificial Intelligence in Public Health Research
Tel.: 030 18754 0
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ)