“Climate Change Human Health” with Mark Becker (Dec 2013)

by | Jul 21, 2023 | Climate Change, Sustainable Future, Uncategorized

Mark Becker, CIESIN
Originally presented 14 December 2013



      The Climate Change and Human Health project is designed to provide educators with the resources to engage high school students in critical thinking about climate change and the potential impact on human health across the planet. Activities developed for this project all use an interactive geospatial globe called CHANGE Viewer, to view and access climate and human related datasets. This tool is a customized and enhanced NASA World Wind portal that can be launched from any computer with an internet connection and Adobe Flash. Using geospatial visualization tools in the classroom offers experiences that provide a deeper understanding of the impacts of global climate change on humans. CHANGE Viewer allows examining climate data at a global scale and zooming down to any location on the Earth’s surface.

About the Developers

The Global Climate Change and Human Health project supported by NASA’s Global Climate Change in Education program is an opportunity for the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology (IAGT) [in Auburn, NY,] and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) [on the Lamont Campus of Columbia University in Palisades, NY, to engage educators in using innovative technologies to explore climate change in the classroom.

This project developed from existing collaborations and missions of both organizations, while continuing to address the need to connect science, research and resources used by scientists to classrooms and educational environments for youth. Since 2002, IAGT and CIESIN have partnered to bring geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning system (GPS) and remote sensing to educational environments by providing training to educators across the country. Over the years, the geospatial educational trainings integrated new technologies and content focus areas, including water resource management, alternative energies and climate science, to meet the interests of educators.

IAGT and CIESIN have internationally recognized experience working with climate change data, geospatial resources and conducting and participating in research studies. Through these experiences and resources, it was envisioned that this project could bring together two climate science geospatial visualization tools, developed with prior funding from NASA, to help students and educators understand how climate change will impact human health. The two geospatial tools were SERVIR-Viz and the Population Estimation Tool.

Educational Activities

The CHANGE Viewer activity themes explored in this project will eventually include: Disease, Migration, Natural Disasters, Food Security, Desertification, Rising Sea Levels and Water Resources. Each activity allows users to examine climate data trends, both historic and predictive, while estimating how many people might be impacted through the changes. Estimating populations is made possible through the Population Estimation Tool developed by the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN).

Activities started to become available in 2012 — see links below.

In addition to developing activities that examine various impacts of climate change on human health, hands-on teacher training workshops are being conducted for teachers to learn how to use the resources in their classrooms. During the summers of 2012 and 2013, teachers met at IAGT and CIESIN to participate in workshops. Training continues with today’s E2C Workshop.


Classroom Ressources

“Climate Change Human Health” and the CHANGE Viewer have been pilot tested by classroom teachers and scientists in a variety of locations. Here is a link to one article about this tool:

“Classrooms Explore Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health Using CHANGE Viewer”  (Directions Magazine, 18 Oct 2011)


The Earth’s climate is getting warmer, and the signs are everywhere. Global rain patterns are shifting, sea levels are on the rise, and glacial snow melt is at record high levels. This article describes a tool built using NASA World Wind – CHANGE Viewer – that brings climate science and socio-economic spatial datasets into the classroom.

Educational Modules (currently available)

Food Security :  http://climatechangehumanhealth.org/activities/food-security/

Natural Disasters — Cyclones:  http://climatechangehumanhealth.org/activities/natural-disasters-cyclones/

Water Resources:  http://climatechangehumanhealth.org/activities/water-resources-2/

Other Resources

Investigating Climate Change and Remote Sensing (ICCARS)

EPA Climate Impacts on Human Health


National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Global Environmental; Health

BBC Weather Centre Climate Change — Human Health

Scientific American (Apr 2010) “Effects of Climate Change Extend to Human Health”

Will Steger Foundation