Integrated Models and Tools for Heat-health Decision Making

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 2:15 PM
226AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Olga Wilhelmi, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and J. Boehnert and M. H. Hayden

Extreme heat and climate change are serious public health concerns. Extreme heat is a leading cause of weather-related human mortality in the United States and in many countries world-wide. Many cities already have amplified vulnerability to extreme heat due to urban heat island and rapidly evolving socioeconomic fabric. Climate change is projected to increase the severity, frequency and duration of extreme heat events, which can put even more population at risk to heat-related mortality and morbidity. Current and future urban vulnerability to heat call for effective strategies for extreme heat mitigation and climate adaptation. In this presentation, we will discuss an interdisciplinary project aimed at addressing urban heat health risks via the System for Integrated Modeling of Metropolitan Extreme Heat Risk (SIMMER). We will highlight the SIMMER research results on the combined impact of extreme heat and the characteristics of urban environmental and social systems on human health in Houston, Texas and Toronto, Canada, and focus on integrated models and tools for heat-health decision making. We will discuss integrated modeling of urban extreme heat risk and explore the connections between the research on vulnerability and adaptive capacity and the practical tools for reducing vulnerability and facilitating heat-health decision making at regional and local scales. We will discuss the spatio-temporal scales of integrated heat risk modeling and the scales of decision making. The presentation will also include a demonstration of two web-based applications that are aimed at communicating complex, multidisciplinary concepts of urban heat vulnerability to stakeholders and the public and could aid in public health interventions, protective decision-making, and climate change adaptations.