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Assessing Adaptation Strategies for Extreme Heat: A Public Health Evaluation of Cooling Centers in Maricopa County, Arizona

Description

Preventing heat-associated morbidity and mortality is a public health priority in Maricopa County, Arizona (United States). The objective of this project was to evaluate Maricopa County cooling centers and gain insight into their capacity to provide relief for the public

Preventing heat-associated morbidity and mortality is a public health priority in Maricopa County, Arizona (United States). The objective of this project was to evaluate Maricopa County cooling centers and gain insight into their capacity to provide relief for the public during extreme heat events. During the summer of 2014, 53 cooling centers were evaluated to assess facility and visitor characteristics. Maricopa County staff collected data by directly observing daily operations and by surveying managers and visitors. The cooling centers in Maricopa County were often housed within community, senior, or religious centers, which offered various services for at least 1500 individuals daily. Many visitors were unemployed and/or homeless. Many learned about a cooling center by word of mouth or by having seen the cooling center’s location. The cooling centers provide a valuable service and reach some of the region’s most vulnerable populations. This project is among the first to systematically evaluate cooling centers from a public health perspective and provides helpful insight to community leaders who are implementing or improving their own network of cooling centers.

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2016-09-23

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Desert New Urbanism: Testing for Comfort in Downtown Tempe, Arizona

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Outdoor human comfort is determined for the remodelled downtown of Tempe, Arizona, USA, an acclaimed example of New Urbanist infill. The authors desired to know whether changes were accompanied by more comfortable conditions, especially in hot, dry summer months. The

Outdoor human comfort is determined for the remodelled downtown of Tempe, Arizona, USA, an acclaimed example of New Urbanist infill. The authors desired to know whether changes were accompanied by more comfortable conditions, especially in hot, dry summer months. The physiological equivalent temperature provided an assessment of year-round outdoor human comfort. Building compactness and tree shade that became part of the changes in the downtown provided more overall daytime human comfort than open nearby streets; however some downtown sites were less comfortable at night, but below 40°C, a threshold for human comfort in this desert environment.

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2016-06-01

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Observing and Modeling the Nocturnal Park Cool Island of an Arid City: Horizontal and Vertical Impacts

Description

We examined the horizontal and vertical nocturnal cooling influence of a small park with irrigated lawn and xeric surfaces (∼3 ha) within a university campus of a hot arid city. Temperature data from 0.01- to 3-m heights observed during a

We examined the horizontal and vertical nocturnal cooling influence of a small park with irrigated lawn and xeric surfaces (∼3 ha) within a university campus of a hot arid city. Temperature data from 0.01- to 3-m heights observed during a bicycle traverse of the campus were combined with modeled spatial temperature data simulated from a three-dimensional microclimate model (ENVI-met 3.1). A distinct park cool island, with mean observed magnitudes of 0.7–3.6°C, was documented for both traverse and model data with larger cooling intensities measured closer to surface level. Modeled results possessed varying but generally reasonable accuracy in simulating both spatial and temporal temperature data, although some systematic errors exist. A combination of several factors, such as variations in surface thermal properties, urban geometry, building orientation, and soil moisture, was likely responsible for influencing differential urban and non-urban near-surface temperatures. A strong inversion layer up to 1 m over non-urban surfaces was detected, contrasting with near-neutral lapse rates over urban surfaces. A key factor in the spatial expansion of the park cool island was the advection of cooler park air to adjacent urban surfaces, although this effect was mostly concentrated from 0- to 1-m heights over urban surfaces that were more exposed to the atmosphere.

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2010-05-21

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Reductions in Air Conditioning Energy Caused by a Nearby Park

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Field observations were carried out to determine the influence of a park on the urban summer climate in the nearby areas. The possibilities of reduction in air conditioning energy were investigated. Air temperature, relative humidity and other meteorological factors were

Field observations were carried out to determine the influence of a park on the urban summer climate in the nearby areas. The possibilities of reduction in air conditioning energy were investigated. Air temperature, relative humidity and other meteorological factors were measured at many locations inside a park and in the surrounding areas in the Tama New Town, a city in the west of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, Japan. The observations indicated that vegetation could significantly alter the climate in the town. At noon, the highest temperature of the ground surface of the grass field in the park was 40.3 °C, which was 19 °C lower than that of the asphalt surface or 15 °C lower than that of the concrete surface in the parking or commercial areas. At the same time, air temperature measured at 1.2 m above the ground at the grass field inside the park was more than 2 °C lower than that measured at the same height in the surrounding commercial and parking areas. Soon after sunset, the temperature of the ground surface at the grass field in the park became lower than that of the air, and the park became a cool island whereas paved asphalt or concrete surfaces in the town remained hotter than the overlying air even late at night. With a size of about 0.6 km2, at noon, the park can reduce by up to 1.5 °C the air temperature in a busy commercial area 1 km downwind. This can lead to a significant decrease of in air conditioning energy in the commercial area.

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1998-05-27

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Planning for Cooler Cities: A Framework to Prioritize Green Infrastructure to Mitigate High Temperatures in Urban Landscapes

Description

Warming associated with urban development will be exacerbated in future years by temperature increases due to climate change. The strategic implementation of urban green infrastructure (UGI) e.g. street trees, parks, green roofs and facades can help achieve temperature reductions in

Warming associated with urban development will be exacerbated in future years by temperature increases due to climate change. The strategic implementation of urban green infrastructure (UGI) e.g. street trees, parks, green roofs and facades can help achieve temperature reductions in urban areas while delivering diverse additional benefits such as pollution reduction and biodiversity habitat. Although the greatest thermal benefits of UGI are achieved in climates with hot, dry summers, there is comparatively little information available for land managers to determine an appropriate strategy for UGI implementation under these climatic conditions. We present a framework for prioritisation and selection of UGI for cooling. The framework is supported by a review of the scientific literature examining the relationships between urban geometry, UGI and temperature mitigation which we used to develop guidelines for UGI implementation that maximises urban surface temperature cooling. We focus particularly on quantifying the cooling benefits of four types of UGI: green open spaces (primarily public parks), shade trees, green roofs, and vertical greening systems (green walls and facades) and demonstrate how the framework can be applied using a case study from Melbourne, Australia.

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2014-11-11

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Impact of Urban Form and Design on Mid-Afternoon Microclimate in Phoenix Local Climate Zones

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This study investigates the impact of urban form and landscaping type on the mid-afternoon microclimate in semi-arid Phoenix, Arizona. The goal is to find effective urban form and design strategies to ameliorate temperatures during the summer months. We simulated near-ground

This study investigates the impact of urban form and landscaping type on the mid-afternoon microclimate in semi-arid Phoenix, Arizona. The goal is to find effective urban form and design strategies to ameliorate temperatures during the summer months. We simulated near-ground air temperatures for typical residential neighborhoods in Phoenix using the three-dimensional microclimate model ENVI-met. The model was validated using weather observations from the North Desert Village (NDV) landscape experiment, located on the Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus. The NDV is an ideal site to determine the model's input parameters, since it is a controlled environment recreating three prevailing residential landscape types in the Phoenix metropolitan area (mesic, oasis, and xeric).

After validation, we designed five neighborhoods with different urban forms that represent a realistic cross-section of typical residential neighborhoods in Phoenix. The scenarios follow the Local Climate Zone (LCZ) classification scheme after Stewart and Oke. We then combined the neighborhoods with three landscape designs and, using ENVI-met, simulated microclimate conditions for these neighborhoods for a typical summer day. Results were analyzed in terms of mid-afternoon air temperature distribution and variation, ventilation, surface temperatures, and shading. Findings show that advection is important for the distribution of within-design temperatures and that spatial differences in cooling are strongly related to solar radiation and local shading patterns. In mid-afternoon, dense urban forms can create local cool islands. Our approach suggests that the LCZ concept is useful for planning and design purposes.

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2013-12-01

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Coupling Biogeochemical Cycles in Urban Environments: Ecosystem Services, Green Solutions, and Misconceptions

Description

Urban green space is purported to offset greenhouse‐gas (GHG) emissions, remove air and water pollutants, cool local climate, and improve public health. To use these services, municipalities have focused efforts on designing and implementing ecosystem‐services‐based “green infrastructure” in urban environments.

Urban green space is purported to offset greenhouse‐gas (GHG) emissions, remove air and water pollutants, cool local climate, and improve public health. To use these services, municipalities have focused efforts on designing and implementing ecosystem‐services‐based “green infrastructure” in urban environments. In some cases the environmental benefits of this infrastructure have been well documented, but they are often unclear, unquantified, and/or outweighed by potential costs. Quantifying biogeochemical processes in urban green infrastructure can improve our understanding of urban ecosystem services and disservices (negative or unintended consequences) resulting from designed urban green spaces. Here we propose a framework to integrate biogeochemical processes into designing, implementing, and evaluating the net effectiveness of green infrastructure, and provide examples for GHG mitigation, stormwater runoff mitigation, and improvements in air quality and health.

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2011-02-01

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Seasonal Hydroclimatic Impacts of Sun Corridor Expansion

Description

Conversion of natural to urban land forms imparts influence on local and regional hydroclimate via modification of the surface energy and water balance, and consideration of such effects due to rapidly expanding megapolitan areas is necessary in light of the

Conversion of natural to urban land forms imparts influence on local and regional hydroclimate via modification of the surface energy and water balance, and consideration of such effects due to rapidly expanding megapolitan areas is necessary in light of the growing global share of urban inhabitants. Based on a suite of ensemble-based, multi-year simulations using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, we quantify seasonally varying hydroclimatic impacts of the most rapidly expanding megapolitan area in the US: Arizona's Sun Corridor, centered upon the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Using a scenario-based urban expansion approach that accounts for the full range of Sun Corridor growth uncertainty through 2050, we show that built environment induced warming for the maximum development scenario is greatest during the summer season (regionally averaged warming over AZ exceeds 1 °C).

Warming remains significant during the spring and fall seasons (regionally averaged warming over AZ approaches 0.9 °C during both seasons), and is least during the winter season (regionally averaged warming over AZ of 0.5 °C). Impacts from a minimum expansion scenario are reduced, with regionally averaged warming ranging between 0.1 and 0.3 °C for all seasons except winter, when no warming impacts are diagnosed. Integration of highly reflective cool roofs within the built environment, increasingly recognized as a cost-effective option intended to offset the warming influence of urban complexes, reduces urban-induced warming considerably. However, impacts on the hydrologic cycle are aggravated via enhanced evapotranspiration reduction, leading to a 4% total accumulated precipitation decrease relative to the non-adaptive maximum expansion scenario. Our results highlight potentially unintended consequences of this adaptation approach within rapidly expanding megapolitan areas, and emphasize the need for undeniably sustainable development paths that account for hydrologic impacts in addition to continued focus on mean temperature effects.

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2012-09-07

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The Social and Spatial Distribution of Temperature-Related Health Impacts From Urban Heat Island Reduction Policies

Description

Cities are developing innovative strategies to combat climate change but there remains little knowledge of the winners and losers from climate-adaptive land use planning and design. We examine the distribution of health benefits associated with land use policies designed to

Cities are developing innovative strategies to combat climate change but there remains little knowledge of the winners and losers from climate-adaptive land use planning and design. We examine the distribution of health benefits associated with land use policies designed to increase vegetation and surface reflectivity in three US metropolitan areas: Atlanta, GA, Philadelphia, PA, and Phoenix, AZ. Projections of population and land cover at the census tract scale were combined with climate models for the year 2050 at 4 km × 4 km resolution to produce future summer temperatures which were input into a comparative risk assessment framework for the temperature-mortality relationship. The findings suggest disparities in the effectiveness of urban heat management strategies by age, income, and race. We conclude that, to be most protective of human health, urban heat management must prioritize areas of greatest population vulnerability.

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2016-09-07

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Determinants of Changes in the Regional Urban Heat Island in Metropolitan Phoenix (Arizona, USA) Between 1990 and 2004

Description

We investigated the spatial and temporal variation in June mean minimum temperatures for weather stations in and around metropolitan Phoenix, USA, for the period 1990 to 2004. Temperature was related to synoptic conditions, location in urban development zones (DZs), and

We investigated the spatial and temporal variation in June mean minimum temperatures for weather stations in and around metropolitan Phoenix, USA, for the period 1990 to 2004. Temperature was related to synoptic conditions, location in urban development zones (DZs), and the pace of housing construction in a 1 km buffer around fixed-point temperature stations. June is typically clear and calm, and dominated by a dry, tropical air mass with little change in minimum temperature from day to day. However, a dry, moderate weather type accounted for a large portion of the inter-annual variability in mean monthly minimum temperature. Significant temperature variation was explained by surface effects captured by the type of urban DZ, which ranged from urban core and infill sites, to desert and agricultural fringe locations, to exurban. An overall spatial urban effect, derived from the June monthly mean minimum temperature, is in the order of 2 to 4 K. The cumulative housing build-up around weather sites in the region was significant and resulted in average increases of 1.4 K per 1000 home completions, with a standard error of 0.4 K. Overall, minimum temperatures were spatially and temporally accounted for by variations in weather type, type of urban DZ (higher in core and infill), and the number of home completions over the period. Results compare favorably with the magnitude of heating by residential development cited by researchers using differing methodologies in other urban areas.

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2007-02-22