4.5 Improving Heat Warning Systems with Remotely Sensed Data

Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 2:45 PM
4C-2 (Washington State Convention Center)
Daniel Patrick Johnson, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN

Heat waves are a growing concern and current climate models indicate they will increase in duration and intensity especially in the mid-latitudes; of which Indiana and the Midwest is a part. Heat waves are known to kill hundreds of people in the United States every year and are the leading cause of weather-related fatalities; usually outstripping the combined effects of hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning and flash floods. Moreover, heat-related deaths and the associated health burden are likely underreported throughout the world as there exist no standardized ways assessing their impact. Although, the majority of deaths are within the elderly population, no groups or individuals are immune to the environmental impact of extreme heat. Vulnerability models are created using a variety of NASA remote sensing assets and are demonstrated to outperform socioeconomic models. The developed vulnerability models are designed to assist emergency personnel in their response and mitigation of the disaster. They will also utilize associated health communications toolkits, developed by CDC, to education and inform the public of the associated vulnerability and the individualized ways of lowering risk. It is hoped the models of vulnerability and the associated communication interactions will have a significant impact in lowering heat-related mortality and the associated economic cost of the health effects of at-risk populations.
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