Exposure to Extreme-Heat in the United States: Historic Patterns, Drivers, and Mortality

Bryan Jones, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR)
Gillian Dunn, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR)

Extreme heat is one of the most deadly weather-related drivers of mortality in the United States (CDC 2012). Exposure and vulnerability to extreme heat is a function of the spatial characteristics of temperature extremes and the population, both of which change over time. There is substantial interest in anticipating potential future exposure to climate-change driven heat events. In this work we establish context for future projections by examining historic patterns of exposure to extreme heat in the United States and assessing the relative contributions of shifts in climate and population to observed changes in exposure. We then examine the relationship between exposure and mortality, paying particular attention to spatial variation. This work represents a step toward understanding how patterns of exposure emerge as a result of the interaction between changes in population structure and regional climate, which will have implications for how we think about future adaptation and mitigation strategies.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Migration and Urbanization/Population, Development, and the Environment