Planning for climate change: The need for mechanistic systems-based approaches to study climate change impacts on diarrheal diseases

Communities that are heavily burdened with diarrheal diseases due to poor water, sanitation and hygiene lack adaptive capacity to sufficiently respond to additional adversity caused by climate change. We argue that a mechanistic systems approach is needed to study the effects of climate change on diarrheal disease. Such an approach links climate change to pathogen diversity, survival and transport, water quality, water quantity, and engineered infrastructure. We describe an example systems modeling approach that prioritizes adaptation strategies and quantifies the links between climate model scenarios and diarrhea incidence. Mechanistic system approaches predict climate change impact and help design appropriate adaptation strategies to improve community resilience.

Planning for climate change: The need for mechanistic systems-based approaches to study climate change impacts on diarrheal diseases. Jonathan E. Mellor, Karen Levy, Julie Zimmerman, Mark Elliott, Jamie Bartram, Elizabeth Carlton, Thomas Clasen, Rebecca Dillingham, Joseph Eisenberg, Richard Guerrant, Daniele Lantagne, James Mihelcic, and Kara Nelson. 2016. Science of the Total Environment 548-549: 82-90. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.12.087.