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Heat-Related Deaths in Hot Cities: Estimates of Human Tolerance to High Temperature Thresholds

Description

In this study we characterized the relationship between temperature and mortality in central Arizona desert cities that have an extremely hot climate. Relationships between daily maximum apparent temperature (ATmax) and mortality for eight condition-specific causes and all-cause deaths were modeled

In this study we characterized the relationship between temperature and mortality in central Arizona desert cities that have an extremely hot climate. Relationships between daily maximum apparent temperature (ATmax) and mortality for eight condition-specific causes and all-cause deaths were modeled for all residents and separately for males and females ages <65 and ≥65 during the months May–October for years 2000–2008. The most robust relationship was between ATmax on day of death and mortality from direct exposure to high environmental heat. For this condition-specific cause of death, the heat thresholds in all gender and age groups (ATmax = 90–97 °F; 32.2‒36.1 °C) were below local median seasonal temperatures in the study period (ATmax = 99.5 °F; 37.5 °C). Heat threshold was defined as ATmax at which the mortality ratio begins an exponential upward trend. Thresholds were identified in younger and older females for cardiac disease/stroke mortality (ATmax = 106 and 108 °F; 41.1 and 42.2 °C) with a one-day lag. Thresholds were also identified for mortality from respiratory diseases in older people (ATmax = 109 °F; 42.8 °C) and for all-cause mortality in females (ATmax = 107 °F; 41.7 °C) and males <65 years (ATmax = 102 °F; 38.9 °C). Heat-related mortality in a region that has already made some adaptations to predictable periods of extremely high temperatures suggests that more extensive and targeted heat-adaptation plans for climate change are needed in cities worldwide.

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Date Created
2014-05-20

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Tradeoffs Between Water Conservation and Temperature Amelioration In Phoenix and Portland: Implications For Urban Sustainability

Description

This study addresses a classic sustainability challenge—the tradeoff between water conservation and temperature amelioration in rapidly growing cities, using Phoenix, Arizona and Portland, Oregon as case studies. An urban energy balance model— LUMPS (Local-Scale Urban Meteorological Parameterization Scheme)—is used to

This study addresses a classic sustainability challenge—the tradeoff between water conservation and temperature amelioration in rapidly growing cities, using Phoenix, Arizona and Portland, Oregon as case studies. An urban energy balance model— LUMPS (Local-Scale Urban Meteorological Parameterization Scheme)—is used to represent the tradeoff between outdoor water use and nighttime cooling during hot, dry summer months. Tradeoffs were characterized under three scenarios of land use change and three climate-change assumptions. Decreasing vegetation density reduced outdoor water use but sacrificed nighttime cooling. Increasing vegetated surfaces accelerated nighttime cooling, but increased outdoor water use by ~20%. Replacing impervious surfaces with buildings achieved similar improvements in nighttime cooling with minimal increases in outdoor water use; it was the most water-efficient cooling strategy. The fact that nighttime cooling rates and outdoor water use were more sensitive to land use scenarios than climate-change simulations suggested that cities can adapt to a warmer climate by manipulating land use.

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2013-05-16

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Urban Adaptation Can Roll Back Warming of Emerging Megapolitan Regions

Description

Modeling results incorporating several distinct urban expansion futures for the United States in 2100 show that, in the absence of any adaptive urban design, megapolitan expansion, alone and separate from greenhouse gas-induced forcing, can be expected to raise near-surface temperatures

Modeling results incorporating several distinct urban expansion futures for the United States in 2100 show that, in the absence of any adaptive urban design, megapolitan expansion, alone and separate from greenhouse gas-induced forcing, can be expected to raise near-surface temperatures 1–2 °C not just at the scale of individual cities but over large regional swaths of the country. This warming is a significant fraction of the 21st century greenhouse gas-induced climate change simulated by global climate models. Using a suite of regional climate simulations, we assessed the efficacy of commonly proposed urban adaptation strategies, such as green, cool roof, and hybrid approaches, to ameliorate the warming. Our results quantify how judicious choices in urban planning and design cannot only counteract the climatological impacts of the urban expansion itself but also, can, in fact, even offset a significant percentage of future greenhouse warming over large scales. Our results also reveal tradeoffs among different adaptation options for some regions, showing the need for geographically appropriate strategies rather than one size fits all solutions.

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Date Created
2014-02-25

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Prioritizing Urban Sustainability Solutions: Coordinated Approaches Must Incorporate Scale-Dependent Built Environment Induced Effects

Description

Because of a projected surge of several billion urban inhabitants by mid-century, a rising urgency exists to advance local and strategically deployed measures intended to ameliorate negative consequences on urban climate (e.g., heat stress, poor air quality, energy/water availability). Here

Because of a projected surge of several billion urban inhabitants by mid-century, a rising urgency exists to advance local and strategically deployed measures intended to ameliorate negative consequences on urban climate (e.g., heat stress, poor air quality, energy/water availability). Here we highlight the importance of incorporating scale-dependent built environment induced solutions within the broader umbrella of urban sustainability outcomes, thereby accounting for fundamental physical principles. Contemporary and future design of settlements demands cooperative participation between planners, architects, and relevant stakeholders, with the urban and global climate community, which recognizes the complexity of the physical systems involved and is ideally fit to quantitatively examine the viability of proposed solutions. Such participatory efforts can aid the development of locally sensible approaches by integrating across the socioeconomic and climatic continuum, therefore providing opportunities facilitating comprehensive solutions that maximize benefits and limit unintended consequences.

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2015-06-09

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Border Wars: Tax Revenues, Annexation, and Urban Growth in Phoenix

Description

Phoenix and neighboring municipalities, like many in the South and West, pursued a growth strategy based on annexation in the decades after the second world war. This article explores the link between annexation and competition for tax revenues. After discussing

Phoenix and neighboring municipalities, like many in the South and West, pursued a growth strategy based on annexation in the decades after the second world war. This article explores the link between annexation and competition for tax revenues. After discussing arguments for annexation, it traces the history of annexation in the Phoenix metropolitan area. A long‐running series of ‘border wars’ entailed litigation, pre‐emptive annexations and considerable intergovernmental conflict. The article argues that tax revenues have been a key motivation for municipalities to seek annexation, particularly since the 1970s. The timing of annexation was an important component of the strategies of municipal officials. Developers sought urban economic growth, but did not always favor political expansion of municipal boundaries through annexation. The article then considers several related policy issues and argues that while opportunities for annexation are becoming more limited, competition for tax revenues (particularly sales‐tax revenues) continues to be fierce, creating dilemmas for municipalities in the region.

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Date Created
2011-04-15

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Improving Heat-Related Health Outcomes in an Urban Environment With Science-Based Policy

Description

We use the Northeast US Urban Climate Archipelago as a case study to explore three key limitations of planning and policy initiatives to mitigate extreme urban heat. These limitations are: (1) a lack of understanding of spatial considerations—for example, how

We use the Northeast US Urban Climate Archipelago as a case study to explore three key limitations of planning and policy initiatives to mitigate extreme urban heat. These limitations are: (1) a lack of understanding of spatial considerations—for example, how nearby urban areas interact, affecting, and being affected by, implementation of such policies; (2) an emphasis on air temperature reduction that neglects assessments of other important meteorological parameters, such as humidity, mixing heights, and urban wind fields; and (3) too narrow of a temporal focus—either time of day, season, or current vs. future climates. Additionally, the absence of a direct policy/planning linkage between heat mitigation goals and actual human health outcomes, in general, leads to solutions that only indirectly address the underlying problems. These issues are explored through several related atmospheric modeling case studies that reveal the complexities of designing effective urban heat mitigation strategies. We conclude with recommendations regarding how policy-makers can optimize the performance of their urban heat mitigation policies and programs. This optimization starts with a thorough understanding of the actual end-point goals of these policies, and concludes with the careful integration of scientific knowledge into the development of location-specific strategies that recognize and address the limitations discussed herein.

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Date Created
2016-10-12

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The Urban Heat Island Mitigation Impact Screening Tool (MIST)

Description

A web-based software tool has been developed to assist urban planners and air quality management officials in assessing the potential ofurban heat island mitigation strategies to affect the urban climate, air quality, and energy consumption within their cities. The user

A web-based software tool has been developed to assist urban planners and air quality management officials in assessing the potential ofurban heat island mitigation strategies to affect the urban climate, air quality, and energy consumption within their cities. The user of thetool can select from over 170 US cities for which to conduct the analysis, and can specify city-wide changes in surface reflectivity and/or veg-etative cover. The Mitigation Impact Screening Tool (MIST) then extrapolates results from a suite of simulations for 20 cities to estimate airtemperature changes associated with the specified changes in surface characteristics for the selected city. Alternatively the user can simply definea nominal air temperature reduction that they hope to achieve with an unspecified mitigation scenario. These air temperature changes are theninput to energy and ozone models to estimate the impact that the mitigation action may have on the selected city. The results presented by MISTinclude a high degree of uncertainty and are intended only as a first-order estimate that urban planners can use to assess the viability of heatisland mitigation strategies for their cities. As appropriate, MIST analyses should be supplemented by more detailed modeling.

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Created

Date Created
2007-02-05

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Mapping Community Determinants of Heat Vulnerability

Description

Background:
The evidence that heat waves can result in both increased deaths and illness is substantial, and concern over this issue is rising because of climate change. Adverse health impacts from heat waves can be avoided, and epidemiologic studies have

Background:
The evidence that heat waves can result in both increased deaths and illness is substantial, and concern over this issue is rising because of climate change. Adverse health impacts from heat waves can be avoided, and epidemiologic studies have identified specific population and community characteristics that mark vulnerability to heat waves.

Objectives:
We situated vulnerability to heat in geographic space and identified potential areas for intervention and further research.

Methods:
We mapped and analyzed 10 vulnerability factors for heat-related morbidity/mortality in the United States: six demographic characteristics and two household air conditioning variables from the U.S. Census Bureau, vegetation cover from satellite images, and diabetes prevalence from a national survey. We performed a factor analysis of these 10 variables and assigned values of increasing vulnerability for the four resulting factors to each of 39,794 census tracts. We added the four factor scores to obtain a cumulative heat vulnerability index value.

Results:
Four factors explained > 75% of the total variance in the original 10 vulnerability variables: a) social/environmental vulnerability (combined education/poverty/race/green space), b) social isolation, c) air conditioning prevalence, and d) proportion elderly/diabetes. We found substantial spatial variability of heat vulnerability nationally, with generally higher vulnerability in the Northeast and Pacific Coast and the lowest in the Southeast. In urban areas, inner cities showed the highest vulnerability to heat.

Conclusions:
These methods provide a template for making local and regional heat vulnerability maps. After validation using health outcome data, interventions can be targeted at the most vulnerable populations.

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Created

Date Created
2009-11-01

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The Urban Heat Island Effect and City Contiguity

Description

The spatial configuration of cities can affect how urban environments alter local energy balances. Previous studies have reached the paradoxical conclusions that both sprawling and high-density urban development can amplify urban heat island intensities, which has prevented consensus on how

The spatial configuration of cities can affect how urban environments alter local energy balances. Previous studies have reached the paradoxical conclusions that both sprawling and high-density urban development can amplify urban heat island intensities, which has prevented consensus on how best to mitigate the urban heat island effect via urban planning. To investigate this apparent dichotomy, we estimated the urban heat island intensities of the 50 most populous cities in the United States using gridded minimum temperature data sets and quantified each city's urban morphology with spatial metrics. The results indicated that the spatial contiguity of urban development, regardless of its density or degree of sprawl,was a critical factor that influenced the magnitude of the urban heat island effect. A ten percentage point increase in urban spatial contiguity was predicted to enhance the minimum temperature annual average urban heat island intensity by between 0.3 and 0.4 °C. Therefore, city contiguity should be considered when devising strategies for urban heat island mitigation, with more discontiguous development likely to ameliorate the urban heat island effect. Unraveling how urban morphology influences urban heat island intensity is paramount given the human health consequences associated with the continued growth of urban populations in the future.

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Date Created
2015-09-12

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Heat Death Associations With the Built Environment, Social Vulnerability, and Their Interactions With Rising Temperature

Description

In an extreme heat event, people can go to air-conditioned public facilities if residential air-conditioning is not available. Residences that heat slowly may also mitigate health effects, particularly in neighborhoods with social vulnerability. We explored the contributions of social vulnerability

In an extreme heat event, people can go to air-conditioned public facilities if residential air-conditioning is not available. Residences that heat slowly may also mitigate health effects, particularly in neighborhoods with social vulnerability. We explored the contributions of social vulnerability and these infrastructures to heat mortality in Maricopa County and whether these relationships are sensitive to temperature. Using Poisson regression modeling with heat-related mortality as the outcome, we assessed the interaction of increasing temperature with social vulnerability, access to publicly available air conditioned space, home air conditioning and the thermal properties of residences. As temperatures increase, mortality from heat-related illness increases less in census tracts with more publicly accessible cooled spaces. Mortality from all internal causes of death did not have this association. Building thermal protection was not associated with mortality. Social vulnerability was still associated with mortality after adjusting for the infrastructure variables. To reduce heat-related mortality, the use of public cooled spaces might be expanded to target the most vulnerable.

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Date Created
2016-08-03