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Last Edited: 4/16/2012

Community Vulnerabilities and Resiliencies to Heat Waves
06/2011 - 06/2013

California has suffered a number of heat waves (HW) which have resulted in considerable morbidity and mortality. With climate change, HW days are predicted to increase, particularly in areas where HWs have historically occurred. Notably, Los Angeles is projected to have four to six times the number of HW days in the latter part of this century (2070-2099) compared to the a similar period in the last century (1961-1990).  The “Great” California heat wave of July 2006 was unprecedented in duration and occurred statewide.  That event provides an opportunity to examine the health impact of a HW among a range of communities with differing characteristics that may foster resiliency (low health impact) and vulnerability (high health impact).  Our specific objectives are to:

  1. Identify communities throughout California with high (vulnerable) and low (resilient) health impacts from heat. We will examine health outcomes during the July 2006 California HW, beginning with mapping mortality by census tract, and will use innovative methods to identify contiguous areas of like risk.
  2. Identify and define the independent impacts of built environment characteristics to mortality during the 2006 HW.  Hypothesized resiliencies include characteristics such as vegetative cover, open space, and access to cooling centers, while hypothesized vulnerabilities include a high concentration of impervious surfaces and lack of public transportation.  We will also aim to control for regional differences in the HW duration and intensity, and for potential confounders such as air conditioning use and air pollution.

Although we will initially focus on mortality during the 2006 HW, we ultimately hope to examine morbidity impacts and other historical HWs in California. Our ultimate goals are to inform policies that may reduce adverse health outcomes due to extreme heat. More specifically, identifying areas with high and low health impacts and understanding community environmental characteristics that foster resiliency will inform local heat response plans, as well as strategic growth and climate change mitigation policies.

SAS PROC GLIMMIX presentation (Size:  2.7 MB)



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