Media Briefings

Urban Heat: How rising temperatures affect U.S. cities

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Daytime temperatures in cities can be as much as 1 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than in nearby rural areas. This “heat island” effect, caused by the absorption and re-emission of heat from buildings, roads, and other urban infrastructure, is worsened by climate change and affects the health of city dwellers. SciLine’s latest media briefing covered the basics of urban heat and related weather patterns, the effects of extreme heat on human health and wellbeing—including disproportionate impacts on low-income populations—and strategies for designing more heat-resilient cities. Three scientific experts briefed reporters, and then took questions on the record. 

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A full transcript will be posted here on Monday, July 26th.


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Dr. Jaime Madrigano

RAND Corporation

Dr. Jaime Madrigano is a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on environmental and social determinants of health, including environmental pollution, extreme weather and disasters, and the built environment, with an emphasis on environmental justice. Dr. Madrigano has expertise in using epidemiologic methods to inform policy, and her research has been cited in multi-agency climate and health preparedness efforts in New York City. She has also worked with local health departments and community-based stakeholders to conduct health and environmental needs assessments. Dr. Madrigano is currently leading research to examine the relationship between systemic discriminatory practices and inequitable environmental burdens in the U.S., as well as work funded by the National Institutes of Health to examine heat vulnerability in New Orleans. (Read full bio.)

Dr. Chandana Mitra

Auburn University

Dr. Chandana Mitra is a physical geographer and climatologist at Auburn University, where her research is focused on characterizing the impacts of urban growth on local climate, especially in the area of heat and precipitation variability. Her research also involves urban sustainability, testing and evaluating the various adaptation and mitigation techniques in a warming cities. She has extensively used GIS/remote sensing techniques and urban growth models to better understand the dynamics of human-environmental interaction, working in various parts of the United States as well as in India. (Read full bio.)

Dr. Vivek Shandas

Portland State University

Dr. Vivek Shandas is a professor in urban studies and planning at Portland State University, where he specializes in developing strategies for addressing the implications of climate change on cities. His teaching and research examine the intersection of exposure to climate-induced events, governance processes, and planning mechanisms. As the founder and director of the Sustaining Urban Places Research Lab, he brings a policy-relevant approach to research, including the evaluation of environmental stressors on human health, the development of indicators and tools to improve decision making, and the construction of frameworks to guide the growth of urban regions. (Read full bio.)

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