International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 52, Issue 6, pp 471–480

A biometeorology study of climate and heat-related morbidity in Phoenix from 2001 to 2006

  • Jay S. Golden
  • Donna Hartz
  • Anthony Brazel
  • George Luber
  • Patrick Phelan
Original Paper

Abstract

Heat waves kill more people in the United States than hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods combined. Recently, international attention focused on the linkages and impacts of human health vulnerability to urban climate when Western Europe experienced over 30,000 excess deaths during the heat waves of the summer of 2003—surpassing the 1995 heat wave in Chicago, Illinois, that killed 739. While Europe dealt with heat waves, in the United States, Phoenix, Arizona, established a new all-time high minimum temperature for the region on July 15, 2003. The low temperature of 35.5°C (96°F) was recorded, breaking the previous all-time high minimum temperature record of 33.8°C (93°F). While an extensive literature on heat-related mortality exists, greater understanding of influences of heat-related morbidity is required due to climate change and rapid urbanization influences. We undertook an analysis of 6 years (2001–2006) of heat-related dispatches through the Phoenix Fire Department regional dispatch center to examine temporal, climatic and other non-spatial influences contributing to high-heat-related medical dispatch events. The findings identified that there were no significant variations in day-of-week dispatch events. The greatest incidence of heat-related medical dispatches occurred between the times of peak solar irradiance and maximum diurnal temperature, and during times of elevated human comfort indices (combined temperature and relative humidity).

Keywords

Health vulnerability Heat Waves Urban Climate Morbidity Emergency medical dispatch 

References

  1. Brazel A, Selover N, Vose R, Heiser G (2000) The tale of two climates-Baltimore and Phoenix urban LTER sites. Clim Res 15:123–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brown RD, Gillespie TJ (1995) Microclimatic Landscape Design. J. Wiley & Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. California Energy Commission (2007). Final staff forecast for 2008 peak demand. California Energy Commission, Sacramento, CA, CEC-200-2007-006SFGoogle Scholar
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1995). Heat-related mortality-Chicago, July 1995. Mor Mortal Wkly Rep 44:577–579Google Scholar
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2005) Heat-related mortality-Arizona, 1993–2002, and the United States 1979–2002. Morb Mort Wkly Rep 54(25):628–630, Department of Health and Human Services, July 1 2005Google Scholar
  6. Golden JS (2004) The built environment induced urban heat island effect in rapidly urbanizing arid regions - a sustainable urban engineering complexity. Environ Sci 1(4):321–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Golden J, Brazel A, Salmond J, Laws D (2006) Energy and water sustainability - the role of urban climate change from metropolitan infrastructure. Engineering for Sustainable Development 1(1):55–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Heisler GM, Wang Y (2002) Applications of a human thermal comfort model. Fourth Symposium on the Urban Environment. May 2002. Norfolk, VA (American meteorological Society)Google Scholar
  9. Kalkstein LS, Greene JS (1997) An evaluation of climate/mortality relationships in large U.S. cities and the possible impacts of a climate change. Environ Health Perspect 105(1):84–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kalkstein LS, Jamason P, Greene J, Libby J, Robinsonet L (1996) The Philadelphia hot weather–health watch/warning system: development and application, summer 1995. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 77:1519–1528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Klineberg E (1999) Denaturalizing disaster: A social autopsy of the 1995 Chicago heat wave. Theory Soc 28(2):239–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kosatsky T (2005) The 2003 European heat waves. Eurosurveillance 10:148–149, #7–9, Jul-Sept 2005Google Scholar
  13. Leonardi GS, Hajat S, Kovats RS, Smith GE, Cooper D, Gerard E (2006) Syndromic surveillance use to detect the early effects of heat-waves: an analysis of NHS direct data in England. Soz- PraÉventivmed 51(4):194–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mastrangelo G, Hajat S, Fadda E, Buja A, Fedeli U, Spolaore P (2006) Contrasting patterns of hospital admissions and mortality during heat waves: are deaths from circulatory excess or an artifact? Med Hypotheses 66(5):1025–1028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. McGeehin M, Mirabelli M (2001) The potential impacts of climate variability and change on temperature-related morbidity and mortaility in the United States. Environ Health Perspect 109(Suppl 2):185–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Michelozzi P, Accetta G, D’Ippoliti D, D’Ovidio M, Marino C, Perucci C, Ballester F, Bisanti L, Goodman P, Schindler C (2006) Short-term effects of apparent temperature on hospital admissions in European cities: Results from the PHEWE project. Epidemiology 17(6):S84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. National Weather Service (2007a) http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/heat_wave.shtml
  18. National Weather Service (2007b). http://www.crh.noaa.gov/pub/heat.php
  19. North American Electric Reliability Council (2006). 2006 Long-Term Reliability Assessment. The Reliability of the Bulk Power Systems in North America.Google Scholar
  20. Schwartz J, Samet JM, Patz JA (2004) Hospital admissions for heart disease: The effects of temperature and humidity. Epidemiology 15(6):755–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Semenza JC, Rubin CH, Falter KH, Selanikio JD, Flanders WD, Howe HL, JL Wilhelm (1996) Heat-related deaths furin the July 1995 heat wave in Chicago. N Engl J Med 335:84–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sheridan SC (2006) A survey of public perception and response to heat warnings across four North American cities: an evaluation of municipal effectiveness. Int J BiometeorolGoogle Scholar
  23. Shrader-Frechette KS (2002) Environmental justice: Creating equality, reclaiming democracy. Environmental ethics and science policy series. Oxford University Press, Oxford, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Steadman RG (1979) The assessment of sultriness, Part I: a temperature-humidity index based on human physiology and clothing science. J Appl Meteorol 18: 861–873CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. US Census (2007) 50 fastest growing metro areas concentrated in the west and south. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/009865.html

Copyright information

© ISB 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jay S. Golden
    • 1
  • Donna Hartz
    • 2
  • Anthony Brazel
    • 2
  • George Luber
    • 3
  • Patrick Phelan
    • 4
  1. 1.National Center of Excellence, SMART Innovations for Urban Climate & EnergyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.School of Geographical SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  3. 3.Centers for Disease Control & PreventionNational Center for Environmental HealthAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Mechanical & Aerospace EngineeringArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations