urban heat island


Anthony Behar/Sipa Press

Hot Weather and COVID-19: Added Threats of Reopening States in Summer

, Climate Vulnerability Social Scientist

A look at the colliding dangers of extreme weather–with a focus on extreme heat–and COVID-19, and a few ways in which Congress can bring relief to the millions in the path of both threats. Read more >

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Photo: Barry M. Goldwater Historic Photograph Collection

Climate Justice Requires Prioritization of The Poor and Vulnerable

, Climate Vulnerability Social Scientist

The legend of the mythological Phoenix tells the story of a “female sacred firebird with beautiful gold and red plumage”. It was said that at the end of its centenarian plus life-cycle, the Phoenix ignited herself among a nest of twigs, and, reducing itself to ashes, a new young Phoenix would arise from the smolder.  It’s a fitting metaphor for Phoenix, Arizona, a relatively young city at 150 years, yet located in the Salt River valley, a Sonoran Desert region that has been inhabited and abandoned by people for thousands of years before its current form as a sprawling metropolitan area.

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Photo: Barry M. Goldwater Historic Photograph Collection (FP FPC 1, Box 8, Folder 1. Historic Photographs, Places: Canals and Irrigation. 1890-1901. Arizona Collection, Arizona State University
Photos: – Barry M. Goldwater Historic Photograph Collection
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona
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Cleveland Can Beat the Heat by Planting Trees—But Don’t Forget Environmental Justice

, Climate Vulnerability Social Scientist

Climate change presents many threats to cities, compromising their ability to protect public health, or deliver critical services like sewage disposal or adequate protection against storm surges and flooding. Many cities are acutely aware of these threats, and are developing climate adaptation plans with strategies to mitigate, and adapt to, climate change impacts. Read more >

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library
Article (doi:10.1175/WCAS-D-15-0026.1) Declet-Barreto, J.; Knowlton, K.; Jenerette, G. D. & Buyantuev, A. Effects of urban vegetation on mitigating exposure of vulnerable populations to excessive heat in Cleveland, Ohio Weather, Climate, and Society, 0, 0, null Abstract: AbstractHot weather is a threat to human health, especially in cities, where Urban Heat Islands (UHIs) are elevating temperatures already on the rise from global climate change. Increased vegetation can help reduce temperatures and exposure to heat hazards. We conduct an ensemble of Geographically Weighted Regressions (GWR) on Land Surface Temperature (LST) for May-October to estimate potential LST reductions from increased vegetation and assess the effect of temperature reductions among vulnerable populations in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. We apply possible tree canopy increases to our results, finding that LST reductions can range from 6.4 to 0.5 °C for May-October, and are strongest from May-July. Potential LST reductions vary spatially according to possible canopy increases, are highest in suburban fringe neighborhoods and lower in downtown areas. Among populations at high heat-related health risks, the percentage of the population 65 years of age or older in Cleveland is negatively associated with LST, while percentages of Hispanics and those with low educational achievement are most positively associated with higher LST. Percent Hispanic also has the lowest potential temperature reductions from increased vegetation. Neighborhoods with the highest potential temperature reductions had the highest percentages of Whites. Three sub-populations associated with high heat health risks are negatively correlated (African-Americans, the elderly) or not correlated (persons living in poverty) with LST, and the relationships to LST reduction potential for all three are not statistically significant. Our estimates of the effect of vegetation increases on LST can be used to target specific neighborhoods for UHI mitigation under possible and achievable, policy-prescribed tree canopy scenarios in Cleveland.
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