How Scientists Use Climate Models to Predict Mosquito-Borne Disease Outbreaks

How Scientists Use Climate Models to Predict Mosquito-Borne Disease Outbreaks

The ebb and flow of rainy seasons corresponds with the hatching of millions of mosquitoes—and the spread of diseases they carry

 By Max Levy

smithsonian.com

Few natural phenomena pose a greater threat to humans than a swarm of mosquitoes erupting from a cluster of soil-lodged eggs. These bloodthirsty menaces can carry a host of diseases, such as Zika, West Nile and malaria, making mosquitoes the world’s deadliest animals.

Mosquito-borne diseases threaten billions of people, and while the diseases vary in biology and geography, most, if not all, are exacerbated by climate change. Scientists predict that a warming world will invite the spread of more mosquitoes, and more illness, threatening a billion more people over the next 60 years. But long-term predictions are hard to act on, and public health experts believe short-term forecasts could better kick-start programs to save people’s lives today…