The Diseases of Global Warming

Today few scientists doubt that Earth's atmosphere is warming. Most also agree that the rate of heating is accelerating and that the consequences could become increasingly disruptive. Even schoolchildren can recite some projected outcomes: oceans will warm and glaciers will melt, causing sea levels to rise and salt water to inundate low-lying coastal areas. Regions suitable for farming will shift.

But less familiar effects of global warming--namely, serious human medical disorders--are no less worrisome. Many are already upon us.

Most directly, global warming is projected to double the number of deaths related to heat waves by 2020. Prolonged heat can increase smog and the dispersal of allergens, causing respiratory symptoms.

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