Analysis of Disease & Climate Seminar

Geog 696C, Physical Geography Seminar, Spring 2008
Time: Wednesdays, 4:00-6:30pm, Harvill 303
Credit: 3 units

Instructor: Andrew Comrie (

Office Hours: by appointment

Schedule, Readings & Assignments (restricted)

Climate and weather affect human health via temperature extremes and severe storms, by exacerbating the effects of air pollution and allergens, and through ecosystem impacts on a wide range of infectious diseases. Gaining insight on interactions between the natural environment, the built environment and society is vital to improved understanding of climate and health. Furthermore, global climate change will redistribute diseases in predictable and unpredictable ways.

The analysis of climate-health relationships is a small but rapidly growing field that combines elements of climatology, epidemiology, and many other disciplines within the environmental and health sciences. The data and analytical tools used are equally varied and represent multiple approaches to learning about disease-climate relationships.

This graduate seminar examines the nature and methods of analysis for climate and health studies. Coverage will include temporal and spatial tools deployed for a range of example diseases and climate settings. We will read major authors and methods for each. The seminar will include review of the recently released IPCC AR4 climate and human health report. We will include several invited speakers, and we plan to invite at least one speaker from out of town.

This class webpage is at

Grades & Policies
Participation: True participation during each class meeting, as well as diligence on assignments and readings before and after each class, are essential. Simply attending class and/or attempting to participate by making ad-hoc comments will result in a low participation grade, as will poor or incomplete weekly assignments.

Readings & Review Assignments: Students are expected to pay detailed, close and critical attention to readings and assignments. For each class meeting, students will read the assigned material and bring to class brief one-page summary and critique notes in response to the readings and discussion questions. These will form the basis of in-class discussion each week. For most weekly topics, I will supply several key references that the whole class will read. Each student is expected to obtain and read additional articles where appropriate and synthesize all the relevant information into the their own weekly review and in the class discussion.

Term Papers: Students are required to submit a term paper on a topic pertinent to the class. Arange of formats are permissible, but all will involve some kind of disease/climate analysis; possible examples include a single large research paper, several smaller analysis 'sandwiched' together, or another approved format. Instructor approval of topic, content, format etc. is required. Term papers should be approximately 20 pages, typed, double-spaced, in 11 or 12 pt font, due on or before the last class meeting. Students will present their term paper projects in class near the end of semester.

Grades: 30% on participation, reading responses and assignments; 70% on the term paper.

Policies: Work submitted late may be subject to penalties. Absence/attendance, withdrawal, honesty and other policies as per the UA General Catalog.

Class Outline

The outline for the class is provided in the weekly schedule link above. Specific details, weekly announcements, updates, etc. beyond those listed will be distributed in class or via email.