The impacts of weather and climate change on the spread of bluetongue into the United Kingdom

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The impacts of weather and climate change on the spread of bluetongue into the United Kingdom

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dc.contributor.author Burgin, Laura Elizabeth en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2011-08-31T09:29:14Z en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2013-03-21T10:37:13Z
dc.date.issued 2011-05-11 en_US
dc.description.abstract A large epizootic of the vector-borne disease bluetongue occurred in northern Europe from 2006-2009, costing the economies of the infected countries several hundreds of millions of euros. During this time, the United Kingdom (UK) was exposed to the risk of bluetongue by windborne incursions of infected Culicoides biting midges from the northern coast of mainland Europe. The first outbreaks which occurred in the UK in 2007 were attributed to this cause. Although bluetongue virus (BTV) no longer appears to be circulating in northern Europe, it is widely suggested that it and other midge-borne diseases may emerge again in the future, particularly under a changing climate. Spread of BTV is strongly influenced by the weather and climate however limited use has been made of meteorologically based models to generate predictions of its spread to the UK. The extent to which windborne BTV spread can be modelled at timescales from days to decades ahead, to inform tactical and strategic decisions taken to limit its transmission, is therefore examined here. An early warning system has been developed to predict possible incursion events on a daily timescale, based on an atmospheric dispersion model adapted to incorporate flight characteristics of the Culicoides vectors. The system’s warning of the first UK outbreak in September 2007 was found to be greatly beneficial to the UK livestock industry. The dispersion model is also shown to be a useful post-outbreak epidemiological analysis tool. A novel approach has been developed to predict BTV spread into the UK on climate-change timescales as dispersion modelling is not practical over extended periods of time. Using a combination of principal component and cluster analyses the synoptic scale atmospheric circulations which control when local weather conditions are suitable for midge incursions were determined. Changes in the frequency and timing of these large scale circulations over the period 2000 to 2050 were then examined using an ensemble of regional climate model simulations. The results suggest areas of UK under the influence of easterly winds may face a slight increase in risk and the length of the season where temperatures are suitable for BTV replication is likely to increase by around 20 days by 2050. However a high level of uncertainty is associated with these predictions so a flexible decision making approach should be adopted to accommodate better information as it becomes available in the future. en_GB
dc.description.sponsorship The UK Met Office en_GB
dc.identifier.citation Agren, E.C.C., Burgin, L., Lewerin, S.S., Gloster, J., Elvander, M. 2010. Possible means of introduction of bluetongue virus serotype 8 (BTV-8) to Sweden in August 2008: comparison of results from two models for atmospheric transport of the Culicoides vector. Veterinary Record, 167, 484-488. en_GB
dc.identifier.citation Burgin, L., Gloster, J., Mellor, P.S. 2009. Why were there no outbreaks of bluetongue in the UK during 2008? Veterinary Record, 164, 384-387. en_GB
dc.identifier.citation Sanders, C.J., Burgin, L., Pallot, A., Barber, J., Golding, N., Carpenter, S., Gloster, J. 2010. A study of potential bluetongue vectors and meteorology in Jersey. Weather, 65, 21-26. en_GB
dc.identifier.grantnumber Defra SE4204 en_GB
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10036/3208 en_US
dc.language.iso en en_GB
dc.publisher University of Exeter en_GB
dc.subject Vector-borne disease en_GB
dc.subject Climate change en_GB
dc.subject Atmospheric dispersion modelling en_GB
dc.subject Synoptic climatology en_GB
dc.subject EU-ENSEMBLES project en_GB
dc.subject NAME model en_GB
dc.subject Culicoides en_GB
dc.title The impacts of weather and climate change on the spread of bluetongue into the United Kingdom en_GB
dc.type Thesis or dissertation en_GB
dc.date.available 2011-08-31T09:29:14Z en_US
dc.date.available 2013-03-21T10:37:13Z
dc.contributor.advisor Dessai, Suraje en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Quine, Timothy en_US
dc.publisher.department Geography en_GB
dc.type.degreetitle PhD in Geography en_GB
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral en_GB
dc.type.qualificationname PhD en_GB


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