From grounded flights to lack of interest in sex: Here are some of the ways climate change will affect you

Water scarcity, drought, heatwave are just a few of the many well-known effects of climate change.

Published: 07th August 2017 05:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th August 2017 02:27 PM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose. (AFP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Climate change may have caused 60,000 farmers to end their lives in India in the last 30 years. That’s according to researchers at the University of California Berkeley who analysed crop yield, climate and suicide data from 29 Indian states.
 
Water scarcity, drought and heatwave are some of the well-known effects of climate change.
 
But that's not all.  
 
Here are some of the other ways in which climate change could affect you
 
Your chances of getting killed in car crash is ‘slightly’ higher on a hot day
 
Is there a link between temperature and fatal road accidents? Some researchers think there is. In 2015, Cornell University economist Benjamin Leard analysed data collected by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He found that while warmer temperatures reduced chances of non-fatal accidents, they increased the probability of fatal ones. A major reason is the higher levels of heat stress and fatigue associated on a hot day. Hot weather makes you drowsy and that's dangerous if you are behind the wheels. Other researchers have found that as mercury shoots up, more people are likely to come out to the public. Hence, the chances of a driver getting distracted are higher.   
 
Your flight may find it harder to take off
 
Rushing up to catch a flight? Relax! Your flight could be delayed, thanks to climate change. In June, as many as 40 flights were grounded at Sky Harbour International Airport in Phoenix, in the US state of Arizona. It was not an isolated incident. Dozens of flights were delayed or cancelled across the US southwest around the same time. Reason: It's too hot to fly. Why can't airplanes fly when it's too hot? Because the hot air is thinner and airplanes need denser air under its wings to generate lift. 
 
Even if your plane manages to take off, chances are that you are in for a bumpy ride. A study by the University of Reading found that climate change may make air transport less safe. As the level of carbon dioxide in the air goes up, aerial turbulence would become a far more a common occurrence. How much more common? Researchers say, three times more. 
 
Chocolate would lighten your wallet, more than your heart
 
About 70 percent of the world's total cocoa comes from West Africa. Two countries in the region – Ghana and Ivory Coast contribute more than 50 per cent to the world’s cocoa basket. However, changing weather patterns in these regions may make cocoa cultivation and production difficult. Recently, the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture called on cocoa farmers in the region to "identify alternative crops" as cocoa yields in West Africa are likely to plummet, thanks to soaring mercury. "There will be areas that remain suitable for cocoa, but only if the farmers adapt their agronomic management to the new conditions the area will experience." Adoption of new techniques would make cocoa production more expensive. See this against the predicted rise in demand for chocolates in the coming years.
 
The point: Chocolates are going to cost more. 
 
Things under the sheets may cool down a bit
 
On hot days, people are less likely to engage in sexual activities. A team of scientists at the University of California Santa Barbara studied fertility and temperature data of the past 80 years. What did they find? There was a significant drop in birth rates nine months after every spell of hot days. 
 
Earlier studies had shown that heat stress may decrease fertility rates in both men and women. Researchers at the London based Royal Society found an inverse relationship between temperature level and sperm count among men. "Clearly, heat stress can have large effects on most aspects of reproductive function-male and female gamete formation and function, embryonic development and fetal growth and development," said Peter J. Hansen of Royal Society.
 
If your boss is in cranky, blame climate change
 
Did you know that climate change could bring the demon out of us? That’s according to UC Berkeley researchers. They found that even a marginal rise in temperature could fray tempers. A sudden change in climatic patterns or a rise in temperatures was accompanied by a rise in cases of domestic violence and group violence in the areas that were studied.
 
“We found that a 1 standard deviation shift towards hotter conditions causes the likelihood of personal violence to rise 4 percent and intergroup conflict to rise 14 percent,” said Marshall Burke, a co-author of the study. 
 
"Hot temperatures make people cranky and irritable," said American psychologist Brad Busman. He said such people are naturally prone to violence. 
 
You may need more sick leaves  
 
Did you know that mosquitoes love it when it’s warm and humid? It is well known that Anopheles mosquito, which spreads Malaria, thrives under hot and humid conditions. Likewise, warmer temperature increases Aedes mosquitoes' ability to transmit diseases. Aedes is responsible for the transmission of Zika and Dengue. In fact, the scientific community blamed climate change for helping Zika reach epidemic proportions. "As the temperature rises, nearly everything about the biology of the Aedes aegypti mosquito - the one that carries Zika, dengue fever, and other diseases - speeds up when it comes to spreading disease," said Bill Reisen, an entomologist at the University of California Davis.
 
Health experts have warned that as mercury soars, the area where mosquitoes could thrive would expand. This would put more people at risk of contracting infectious diseases.
 
It not just mosquitoes! Climate change will soon create conditions that are ideal for a variety of bacteria to thrive. A study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research warned that as mercury spikes, humans would become more prone to a variety of diseases. This is because warm environment increases bacteria's survival time and ability to proliferate. 

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