Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Maps Potential Vulnerability to Heat Waves

15.06.2009
A research article published on June 11 ahead of print in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) describes an approach to identify which U.S. populations within specific geographic regions are likely to be most susceptible to adverse effects of heat, as well as which areas are most in need of intervention.

With reports of heat waves increasing in frequency, intensity and duration worldwide, cities can use information on vulnerable at-risk populations to help coordinate heat emergency plans and identify interventions to reduce the preventable and negative health effects of heat waves.

This information can ultimately be used to design longer-term interventions to lessen vulnerability to heat-related illness, for example by increasing urban green spaces (outdoor areas with an abundance of vegetation).

The study gathered available information on several factors that have been associated with adverse health impacts from heat waves to identify vulnerable populations. These factors included lower education, poverty, being a race other than white, lack of green space, living alone, lack of air conditioning, older age and presence of diabetes. These data were compiled into a national map of county-level heat vulnerability.

This map suggested that heat vulnerability could vary widely across the nation, due primarily to differences in air conditioning prevalence. In urban areas, inner cities were likely to be more vulnerable to heat regardless of the city’s overall vulnerability. These maps would need to be validated by comparison with actual observed outcomes in response to heat.

Studies of heat waves and mortality in the United States have shown that increases in mortality from heat-related causes, cardiovascular causes, respiratory causes, heart attacks and all causes combined occur on days with higher temperatures or extended periods of high temperatures.

Pre-existing health conditions may lead to vulnerability to heat-related illnesses and death in individuals. These conditions include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, renal disease, nervous disorders, emphysema, epilepsy, cerebrovascular disease, pulmonary conditions and mental health conditions. However, community-level factors, such as poverty and a lack of ground cover, may also increase vulnerability.

“This study is a novel approach to map vulnerability to a health outcome related to climate change nationally and can be considered a first step towards tools that can help public health professionals prepare climate change adaptation plans for their communities,” wrote first author Colleen Reid and colleagues. “In addition to refinement of this method for heat vulnerability, further studies mapping vulnerability to other projected health impacts of climate change are needed.”

EHP editor-in-chief Hugh A. Tilson, PhD said, “Because heat waves are projected to increase in frequency, duration and intensity in the United States and around the world, it is critical that municipalities at the local level develop effective heat warning systems, emergency planning procedures and interventions that focus on groups that are most vulnerable, like the elderly.”

Other authors of the paper included Marie O’Neill, Carina Gronlund, Shannon Brines, Dan Brown, Ana Diez-Roux and Joel Schwartz. The study was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The article is available free of charge at http://www.ehponline.org/members/2009/0900683/0900683.html.

EHP is published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. EHP is an Open Access journal. More information is available online at http://www.ehponline.org/. Brogan & Partners Convergence Marketing handles marketing and public relations for the publication and is responsible for creation and distribution of this press release.

Julie Hayworth-Perman | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ehponline.org
http://www.ehponline.org/members/2009/0900683/0900683.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>