International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 13–22 | Cite as

Modeling effects of urban heat island mitigation strategies on heat-related morbidity: a case study for Phoenix, Arizona, USA

  • Humberto R. Silva
  • Patrick E. Phelan
  • Jay S. Golden


A zero-dimensional energy balance model was previously developed to serve as a user-friendly mitigation tool for practitioners seeking to study the urban heat island (UHI) effect. Accordingly, this established model is applied here to show the relative effects of four common mitigation strategies: increasing the overall (1) emissivity, (2) percentage of vegetated area, (3) thermal conductivity, and (4) albedo of the urban environment in a series of percentage increases by 5, 10, 15, and 20% from baseline values. In addition to modeling mitigation strategies, we present how the model can be utilized to evaluate human health vulnerability from excessive heat-related events, based on heat-related emergency service data from 2002 to 2006. The 24-h average heat index is shown to have the greatest correlation to heat-related emergency calls in the Phoenix (Arizona, USA) metropolitan region. The four modeled UHI mitigation strategies, taken in combination, would lead to a 48% reduction in annual heat-related emergency service calls, where increasing the albedo is the single most effective UHI mitigation strategy.


Health vulnerability Heat wave Urban heat island Morbidity Emergency medical dispatch Numerical modeling 



This work was supported by the National Center for Environmental Health at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Contract 30-07184-03 CDC / Task Order 0078), and the National Center of Excellence on SMART Innovations ( at Arizona State University. H.R.S. gratefully acknowledges the partial support of this work by the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc. in the form of a GEM Doctoral Fellowship.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Humberto R. Silva
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patrick E. Phelan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jay S. Golden
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.National Center of Excellence on SMART InnovationsArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  3. 3.School of SustainabilityArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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