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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(12), 16110-16123; doi:10.3390/ijerph121215046

A Spatial Framework to Map Heat Health Risks at Multiple Scales

1
Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada
2
Department of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Okanagan College, Kelowna, BC V1Y 4X8, Canada
3
Department of Geography, University of Ottawa, ON, K1N 6N5, Canada
4
Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Grady Dixon and Scott C. Sheridan
Received: 27 October 2015 / Revised: 8 December 2015 / Accepted: 15 December 2015 / Published: 18 December 2015
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Abstract

In the last few decades extreme heat events have led to substantial excess mortality, most dramatically in Central Europe in 2003, in Russia in 2010, and even in typically cool locations such as Vancouver, Canada, in 2009. Heat-related morbidity and mortality is expected to increase over the coming centuries as the result of climate-driven global increases in the severity and frequency of extreme heat events. Spatial information on heat exposure and population vulnerability may be combined to map the areas of highest risk and focus mitigation efforts there. However, a mismatch in spatial resolution between heat exposure and vulnerability data can cause spatial scale issues such as the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP). We used a raster-based model to integrate heat exposure and vulnerability data in a multi-criteria decision analysis, and compared it to the traditional vector-based model. We then used the Getis-Ord Gi index to generate spatially smoothed heat risk hotspot maps from fine to coarse spatial scales. The raster-based model allowed production of maps at spatial resolution, more description of local-scale heat risk variability, and identification of heat-risk areas not identified with the vector-based approach. Spatial smoothing with the Getis-Ord Gi index produced heat risk hotspots from local to regional spatial scale. The approach is a framework for reducing spatial scale issues in future heat risk mapping, and for identifying heat risk hotspots at spatial scales ranging from the block-level to the municipality level. View Full-Text
Keywords: heat risk; modifiable areal unit problem; heat vulnerability; extremely hot weather event heat risk; modifiable areal unit problem; heat vulnerability; extremely hot weather event
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ho, H.C.; Knudby, A.; Huang, W. A Spatial Framework to Map Heat Health Risks at Multiple Scales. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 16110-16123.

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