Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --While NOAA reports that 2014 was the warmest year on record across the world, in the Northland we saw much colder than average temperatures.
A major anomaly? Actually Hilarie Sorensen, Climate Change Educator at Minnesota Seagrant, says we should get used to these extremes. "An increase in extreme events like flooding and drought, and we are seeing higher dew points. We are already beginning to see this in Minnesota and they are expected to increase in the future."
A future that will see a growing human impact, including things like an increase in allergies and disease. Sorensen says allergy sufferers are in for longer pollen seasons.
"It is expected to lengthen the growing season with certain plants, pollen emitting plants. Increase and lengthen the pollen season we have which increases people's vulnerabilities."
When air temperatures rise, water temperatures will follow. This could lead to more illnesses like cryptosporidium and Giardiasis.
"So increased water temperatures again makes it more hospitable environment for some water borne diseases to thrive."
Water borne diseases aren't the only illnesses to worry about in a warming climate. Tick borne diseases like Lyme, Human Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis can become more abundant, as ticks thrive in warmer weather.
Dr. Johan Bakken studies infectious diseases at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth. He says ticks are on a march North. "The areas of Lyme disease that is contracted is expanding, and that probably is a consequence of changing climactic conditions that we have noticed for decades."
It takes a tick 18 to 24 months to complete its three stage cycle of development...and with warmer weather they can complete that cycle further north. Bakken says, "In the past no such cycles were found in Canada, now they are finding steady cycles along the shores of Lake Winnipeg, on the south shore." "By 2050, if this climate change continues, they will see tick population on the south shore of Hudson Bay. Which is amazing."
Dr. Bakken says as birds and deer trek northward as Canada warms, they carry ticks with them, spreading the disease and danger as they go.
Experts say those who will be most affected by climate change health risks are the elderly, children and those who work outside on a regular basis.