Submitted to: Institute of Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 15, 2011
Publication Date: September 15, 2011
Citation: Tucker, C.J., Yager, K., Anyamba, A., Linthicum, K. 2011. Climate Change, Extreme Weather Events, and Fungal Disease Emergence and Spread. Institute of Medicine. Fungal Diseases: An Emerging Threat to Human, Animal, and Plant Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 324-342.
Interpretive Summary: During the last 100 years the earth’s climate has warmed. Continued warming of the planet is likely, and this will lead to increased rainfall in some areas and lack of rainfall in other areas. There is an increased potential for emerging fungal diseases in plant and animal species in the changing environment.
Empirical evidence from multiple sources show the Earth has been warming since the late 19th century. More recently, evidence for this warming trend is strongly supported by satellite data since the late 1970s from the cryosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and land that confirms increasing temperature trends and their consequences (e.g., reduced Arctic sea ice, rising sea level, ice sheet mass loss, etc.). At the same time, satellite observations of the Sun show remarkably stable solar cycles since the late 1970s, when direct observations of the Sun’s total solar irradiance began. Numerical simulation models, driven in part by assimilated satellite data, suggest that future-warming trends will lead to not only a warmer planet, but also a wetter and drier climate depending upon location in a fashion consistent with large-scale atmospheric processes. Continued global warming poses new opportunities for the emergence and spread of fungal disease, as climate systems change at regional and global scales, and as animal and plant species move into new niches.