Potential overall heat exposure reduction associated with implementation of heat mitigation strategies in Los Angeles

D. J. Sailor, J. Anand, L. Kalkstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We analyzed two historical extreme heat events in Los Angeles to explore the potential of increasing vegetative cover and surface solar reflectance (albedo) to reduce total exposure (indoor and outdoor) to dangerously hot conditions. We focus on three population subgroups, the elderly, office workers, and outdoor workers, and explore the extreme case where each subgroup does not have functioning air conditioning in their residences. For each heat event, we conducted atmospheric model simulations for a control case and four mitigation cases with varying levels of increased albedo and vegetation cover. Simultaneously, we conducted building simulations of representative residential buildings that lacked mechanical air conditioning. These simulations factored in both the indirect cooling effects associated with neighborhood implementation of mitigation strategies and the direct effects of high albedo roofing on the individual buildings. From both the atmospheric and building models, we exported hourly values of air temperature and dew point temperature, and used this information in combination with various scenarios of occupant behavior to create profiles of individual heat exposure. We also gathered heat-mortality data for the two heat events and developed a synoptic climatology-based relationship between exposure and excess mortality. This relationship was then applied to the scenarios in which albedo and canopy cover were increased. The results suggest that improvements in indoor thermal conditions are responsible for a sizable portion of the health benefit of large-scale implementation of heat mitigation strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational journal of biometeorology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Heat exposure
  • Heat mitigation
  • Heat-related health
  • Individually experienced temperatures
  • Indoor environmental quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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