There’s a new study out trying to connect rain to climate change and tummy aches, or, more specifically with waterborne pathogens. The press release gets it spectacularly wrong.
Scientists are now suggesting that greater quantities of rainfall and bigger storms could be responsible for more unsettled stomachs in parts of Europe.
The only problem with that summation is that the paper identified Europe as being the least effected.
Most reported outbreaks of Vibrio spp. following extreme water-related weather events occurred in Asia, followed by Africa and South America, while most reported outbreaks due to Leptospira spp. were in North America or Asia. More than one pathogen was identified on 16/74 (21·6%) occasions, mostly in North America or Asia (37·5% and 31·3%, respectively), followed by Europe (18·8%). Of the 74 outbreaks in which the causal pathogen was identified, 31 (41·9%) reported testing the water supply. Of these, the causal pathogen was stated to have been identified in just over half (54·8%), confirming the water supply as the source.
LOL!!! That’s beautiful! 17 out of the 74 were confirmed the water supply as the source of the outbreak. Confirmed!!
Now, it’s long been known that flooding creates these sort of health risks. However, the press release is talking about Europe. When did Europe become a 3rd world area and forget how to make potable water?
Yes, if flooding and heavy rains were to increase, we should see an increase in waterborne outbreaks. I wouldn’t have thought a paper necessary to state this blatantly obvious thought. However, that’s about the only thing the paper gets right. The problem is they didn’t bother to check to see if claims and projections by the IPCC were correct. And, they added a couple of strange climate events which in and of themselves don’t obviously relate to waterborne pathogens.
The frequency of heavy precipitation events is thought to have increased over many mid-latitude regions since 1950, even where there has been a reduction in the total precipitation. The area affected by drought is thought to have increased since the 1970s in many areas of the world . There is also evidence to suggest that other extreme water-related weather events such as El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), hurricanes, and cyclones are becoming more frequent, intense and of greater duration [4, 5].
Uhmm…… literature regarding droughts is divided. The only paper I’m aware of which tracked flooding showed a slight decrease in frequency and intensity. Hurricanes or cyclones are definitely not becoming more frequent or intense.
And, neither is El Nino, though, I’m not sure how that relates to waterborne disease outbreaks. The biggest whine the climate nutters have about the global temperature abatement is the fact that we haven’t had many El Ninos for a while. The most extreme one, of course, was in 1998.
But, those examples of fail aren’t the most spectacular fail of the paper. This is…..
Four medical and meteorological databases (Medline, Embase, GeoRef, PubMed) and a global electronic reporting system (ProMED) were searched, from 1910 to 2010. Eighty-seven waterborne outbreaks involving extreme water-related weather events were identified and included, alongside 235 ProMED reports. Heavy rainfall and flooding were the most common events …….
How on earth would a waterborne disease outbreak in 1910 relate to what is happening today? Our water treatment, medical treatment, immunology, and flood control is entirely different then what was occurring in 1910. Going back that far isn’t just entirely irrelevant, it would, obviously, skew the results of the study if they actually, you know, checked for frequency increase of the various events, both weather and diseases.
The references 4 and 5 are…..
- 4. Solomon, SD, et al. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. [Google Scholar]
- 5. Kristie, L, et al. Climate variability and change and their health effects in small island states: information for adaptation planning in the health sector. Environmental Health Perspectives 2006; 114: 1957–1963. [OpenURL Query Data][PubMed][Google Scholar]
Update!!! I forgot to include the most important part!!!
With EU-funding of EUR 2.4 million, the approach has been to design hydrological models and upgrade tools for tracking harmful viruses from human sewage in Europe’s waters, and subsequently determine the health risks.
Is it wrong that I derive just a little satisfaction that the US isn’t the only one that wastes enormous amounts of wealth on such splendid stupidity?
h/t Tom Nelson