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Article
Developing High-Resolution Descriptions of Urban Heat Islands: A Public Health Imperative
Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice and Policy
  • Jackson Voelkel, Portland State University
  • Vivek Shandas, Portland State University
  • Brendon Haggerty, Portland State University
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
9-1-2016
Subjects
  • Urban heat island,
  • Urban climatology,
  • Sustainable development
Abstract
Extreme heat events affect the most vulnerable human populations and are a lethal health hazard to urban dwellers globally; in the United States, extreme heat causes more deaths annually than all other weather events and natural hazards combined (1). Previous studies described urban heat islands as isolated, static, monolithic areas of cities. We challenged this contention by hypothesizing that diurnal temperature cycles and diverse landscape features create variation in places that amplify heat (2). A temporal description of urban heat islands would identify populations that are susceptible to heat stress, particularly at night, when most people are asleep and unable to regulate internal body temperatures. If public health agencies are to prevent illness and death caused by heat, they will need to know which populations are most vulnerable to heat stress, particularly at night; such information can guide timely interventions (3). Researchers lack high-resolution tools for identifying neighborhoods and households where extreme weather events might have profound and fatal effects on human health. The objective of this study was to use spatial analytics at previously unattained resolutions to answer the following research question: to what extent can we observe temporal variation in urban heat islands and the physical features that induce heat stress?
Description

The article can be found online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd13.160099

DOI
10.5888/pcd13.160099
Persistent Identifier
http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/18367
Citation Information
Voelkel J, Shandas V, Haggerty B. Developing High-Resolution Descriptions of Urban Heat Islands: A Public Health Imperative. Prev Chronic Dis 2016; 13:160099.