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Google searches could help scientists track the effects of climate change

Scientists believe that Google searches by people could be the key to understanding the impacts of climate change.

Did you know that the most popular search engine on the internet could give valuable information to those who want to track what’s going on around the planet?

Not searches for cat recipes or pasta recipes, but questions people ask about ticks. These could provide key insight into their movements and populations, as well as indicators of Climate Change.

In recent years, the consensus has been that climate change will increase tick-borne diseases and increase tick numbers in northern countries like Denmark.


The current knowledge base on tick-borne diseases is however limited.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC) states that more monitoring of ticks and other vector-borne diseases are needed. This is partly to assess the impact of climate change and to monitor the spread and spread of diseases like Lyme disease or tick-borne Encephalitis.

Per Moestrup Jensen is an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen’s plant and environment department. However, it can be difficult to keep an eye on tick populations.

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“The IPCC states that monitoring is a critical requirement. But how can we get it? He said.

“Usually, you move a flag with a stick across the ground. The ticks count down on the flag.

On a good day we can inspect 1000m2. We can’t go out and collect ticks on any scale that looks like monitoring. Google Trends is a quick way to do this.

He was part of a research team that extracted data over ten years for when the population of nine European countries and the Danes searched for the term “tick”.

They compared their Google search results with weather data to determine if the Google searches were aligned with the seasonal patterns of the particular places and climate variations.

Temperature affects the duration of tick activity.

Continue reading:

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Prof Jensen stated that tick bite victims often search Google for information. This allows researchers to see where and when they are searching for it.

“Looking across Europe, it’s clear that there is a strong correlation between tick searches on Google by people and local temperature variations.

“It confirms what we believe about seasonal patterns of ticks.”

He said, “So, here’s an idea: If you are bitten by a tick, and feel unsure about anything, search online.

You’ll find lots of useful information. You’ll also be contributing to scientific research.

The journal Insects published the research.


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