Rural Alaskan communities are seeking grant funding to address health risks related to climate change. Associate Professor Micah Hahn from the Institute of Circumpolar Health Studies spoke to Alaska Public Media about her team’s efforts to help communities create climate adaptation strategies.
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Alaska is prepared to handle harsh winter weather, but climate change has triggered a new threat – heat. Micah Hahn with the Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies (ICHS) is teaming with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska branch to develop the state’s first hot weather warning system based on the local temperature threshold.
Historically, ticks haven’t been a problem in Alaska. But factors like climate change and tourism have created a welcoming environment for new species that can transmit illnesses to humans. Micah Hahn with the Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies is tracking them. “Our work over the past six years is to understand the baseline–where we are with the ticks that exist in Alaska.”
UAA Associate Professor of Environmental Health Micah Hahn is leading a research project around climate change, health, wildfire smoke and environmental justice in Alaska that recently received a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
According to results from research led by Micah Hahn, an environmental epidemiologist here at UAA, Alaskans' health starts suffering when temperatures climb to 70 degrees, and that local and state officials should consider policies to respond to heat-related health problems that are expected to increase as the climate continues to warm.