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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Sep 24;110(39):15620-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1307135110. Epub 2013 Sep 9.

Regional and seasonal response of a West Nile virus vector to climate change.

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School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.


Climate change will affect the abundance and seasonality of West Nile virus (WNV) vectors, altering the risk of virus transmission to humans. Using downscaled general circulation model output, we calculate a WNV vector's response to climate change across the southern United States using process-based modeling. In the eastern United States, Culex quinquefasciatus response to projected climate change displays a latitudinal and elevational gradient. Projected summer population depressions as a result of increased immature mortality and habitat drying are most severe in the south and almost absent further north; extended spring and fall survival is ubiquitous. Much of California also exhibits a bimodal pattern. Projected onset of mosquito season is delayed in the southwestern United States because of extremely dry and hot spring and summers; however, increased temperature and late summer and fall rains extend the mosquito season. These results are unique in being a broad-scale calculation of the projected impacts of climate change on a WNV vector. The results show that, despite projected widespread future warming, the future seasonal response of C. quinquefasciatus populations across the southern United States will not be homogeneous, and will depend on specific combinations of local and regional conditions.


disease; ecology; insect

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