Description of the video:
>> Welcome to the prepared for environmental change webinar series. My name is Andrea Webster. Today's webinar is on managing extreme heat. You all know quite a bit about that, it's been quite hot here in Indiana and probably across the country. So before we get started, I want to let you know that everyone is muted.
And if you have a question you can enter it into the chat function, which you can access by hovering your mouse over the Zoom window and you should see a chat option appear. We will be live tweeting today's webinar, so if you'd like to share tweets or retweet them, in the lingo that Twitter uses, you can use @preparedforchange.
We are recording today's webinar and I'll share a link to that recording along with follow up resources with all the registrants, probably Friday or Monday next week. And finally, I'm very pleased to introduce the Director of the Environmental Resilience Institute, Janet McCabe. Janet will be our moderator today.
>> Hi, everybody. It's great to have you here on this hot, hot day. This is a very timely topic as we all swelter in Indiana summer. Here in Indianapolis where I live, we've already had many days of 90 degree temperatures and more are predicted. I just looked at my phone.
It's 90 here now according to my phone. And we all know that hot weather can be really dangerous for people who work outside, people without air conditioning, or with health conditions that make them more vulnerable. And in these days of the COVID virus, a lot of the places that people might go to cool off like malls and libraries and other public spaces may not be available to them.
Or people just are reluctant to go to them because they're concerned about putting themselves at risk of being exposed to the virus. So very challenging time. Hot weather also increases air pollution. It affects our green spaces. It also affects our mood and there are studies associating increases in violence with hot temperatures.
So there's a lot to be concerned about and to learn about what's happening with temperatures in our country and in our state and how that might affect us. And things that we can do to help our fellow Hoosiers and others deal with these hot temperatures. So today we have two very talented practitioners Vivek Shandas and Colleen Moran, who will share their expertise on how to manage extreme heat in your communities.
All of us are very familiar with extreme heat at the moment, but the fact is that our work around the state has revealed that communities are not as focused on preparing themselves or their residents for more frequent heat. As we might think they ought to be. And we understand that there's a lot going on, and people have to prioritize and can't focus on everything at once.
But I think that the virus has given us all a really important lesson that we can't just wait for a particular issue to be numero uno on our to do list because people are going to the hospital. And that preparation and knowing the information you need to know so that you can be prepared are really, really critical.
So you guys know that because you've decided to join us today so that you can learn about this and help implement some of the ideas you share today, I hope. So, let's go to slide two. In addition to our webinar series, I just wanna make sure that everybody knows that, ERI has many other resources to help you as you're thinking about resilience in whatever capacity you work.
And so you can please go to our website and look at these resources or you can in your time that you have for podcasts, you can listen to our podcast which is fun and check out the journalism that is produced on a regular basis at the Indiana Environmental Reporter.
So we're proud of these resources and and hope that you'll find them useful. We do have some webinars coming up but I'll let you know that we are taking a hiatus in August, everybody needs a little time off. We will be asking people to give us their ideas give us their ideas, give us your ideas about the topics that you wanna hear for future webinars.
So, we will look forward to getting your input on that because we want these to be useful. We wanna thank the Association of Indiana Municipality, I'm sorry, Accelerate Indiana Municipalities and the Association for Indiana Counties for continuing to support the webinar series. While everybody is welcome to use the resources and to attend these webinars, the Environmental Resilience Institute does have a focus on assisting local governments in Indiana and the Midwest.
And so these partnerships are really important to us. We also wanna thank the Indiana Public Health Association and Health by Design for their support and sponsorship. And a topic like this is especially important for local health departments and organizations that focus on public health around the state. We have lots and lots of people registered for today's webinar from across Indiana and even from elsewhere in the United States.
It's always fun to see where we have people joining us from. So we're thrilled to have you join us. Thank you, please spread the word if you find this useful, and remember that we have all of our past webinars archived on our website and you can go listen to any ones that are of interest to you.
So I'm going to briefly introduce our two presenters and then I'm just gonna hand it off to them and you won't hear from me again, likely until the end. We will have time for questions at the end, which you can do either through the chat function or Andrea will unmute people or you can unmute yourself to ask a question.
But if you think of something, I'm tempted to say a burning question, as we're going through the Webinar, please do enter it into the chat box when you think of it so you don't have to be distracted trying to remember it. And if it's something that we think is really necessary to to stop the flow, we'll interrupt and ask that question for clarification.
Otherwise, we'll tee them up for the end. So, our first speaker will be Vivek Shandas. He's a professor of climate adaptation and the Research Director for the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University. He studies the effects of urban development patterns and processes on environmental health. By examining the assumptions about our built environment, Dr. Shandas supports communities in improving their adaptation to climate stressors, including extreme events such as urban heat air quality and storms right up our alley.
He is the Chair of the city of Portland's Urban Forestry Commission. And is a principal at an organization called CAPA Strategies, LLC, which is a global consulting group that helps communities prepare for climate induced disruptions. Next we will hear from Colleen Moran. She has seven years of experience working on the human health impacts of climate change at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
In her current role as the Strategic Initiatives coordinator for the Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health, Colleen supports and promotes the inclusion of climate change and equity into the work done at the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. Previously, she served as the Climate and Health Program Manager in this division.
So with that I want to thank both our speakers for joining us today sharing their expertise and learning with us. And I will turn it over to Vivek to share his screen and take it away. Okay, thank you for that generous introduction. I am delighted to be here with you.
I hope my sound is coming through okay and all our Zoom technical capacities are at full tilt here. My name is Vivek Shandas. I'm a professor, wearing a hat as a professor of Climate Adaptation at Portland State University and a principal of CAPA Strategies. And before I get started into this Localizing Climate Effects from Urban Heat, stressors on and strategies for creating a more equitable region.
I just want to thank several groups, the Climate Resiliency Fund, NOAH, who's been very supportive of this work, US Forrest Service through their National Urban Community Forestry challenge grant, as well as the National Science Foundation. And so many other, and of course, a lot of grad students and other staff that have been instrumental in getting this work.
So I am but a messenger here of lots of work that's happened by people who are far more talented than I in much of this work. So with that, I'd love to just start by finding out a little bit about why you're here. And if you would if you could try to run a little poll where I'm asking through Zoom, we're gonna try and see if this works.
Looks like mine showed up. Which of the following best describes your interest in attending today? And if you just choose one actually if you could just do the first one for now. I see all the polls are there, all three questions, but just the first one that you see.
There's question number two, we'll wait on for a little bit. But just the first one, if you could answer that. And I think Andrew can post those results in a minute here. All right, oops. See if that worked and if we got a high percentage of people responding to publish the poll and see where we are, curious why you're here.
>> So votes are slowly coming in we're under 10%. But I think it's jumping up rapidly. So I'll give folks another minute or so.
>> Warm weather does slow us down a little bit. So that's okay. Take your time, we'll get through this.
>> Okay, so again, I'll give you guys about five more seconds and then I'll end the polling
>> Okay, thank you.
We have any results, I'm so curious. Do you know how to post those up? There you go, great. Okay. Learn about the topic. Sounds like it's looks like it's number one, and no one wants to boost their career it looks like. But we do have people who are and no one's bosses making them do this.
That's fabulous. So you're here on your own will and interest, good. Alright, well thanks. Thanks, everybody. I will kind of continue in with this. So if you want to learn a little bit about this topic, I'll tell you starting with our group. The LLC that I've started, I'm calling myself a pracademic for this is doing a lot of practitioner work as well as some of the academic basic research.
And CAPA stands for climate adaptation planning and analytics. And we're really doing three things. We're trying to engage communities by localizing climate-induced hazards. We're developing some analytical tools for examining scenarios. And then we're aiming to build capacity through engagement of decision-makers and community groups. And so those are kind of the three pillars around which most of this work is happening.
Today, I'll really be spending most of the time on the heat watch program and kind of talking about why do we even want to get into this topic of urban heat. And then I'm delighted that Coleen is gonna be following with aspects of the health as well as some tools that are gonna be available to you, it sounds like for applying to this topic.
So the big question that I keep hearing when I'm out in the community, we've been now engaged in about 40 different communities but namely cities around the country. And a big question that I see asked is, you know, what are the effects of climate change on my region?
And that's one of those large questions that's really unwieldy, it's very complex, a lot of uncertainties, and very limited data on this as well. Although we continue to gather data there's still lots that needs to be done. And then ultimately, the goal of this question I think is to move into the policy realms and trying to address these impacts and even get in front of some of these impacts.
And so from that, what we've been spending a lot of our time on is thinking about what will the future look like in many of these regions. And so I was really thrilled to see some work coming out of University of Maryland last year where a couple of climate scientists essentially looked at climate analogues.
So what will Indianapolis look like for example, in 2060? What will Madison, Wisconsin, what will Minneapolis? And essentially looking at these 540 North American urban areas, they were able to essentially say what will the weather on a day to day basis essentially represent? And what's interesting is the American Society for Civil Engineers has really been moving a lot of their code for buildings and things like that to follow some of these future development or future climate trends.
And it's in early stages, haven't seen a great deal coming out on the ground yet in terms of climate-friendly or climate-sensitive buildings. Though what I do see is if this little tool that's been created as part of that paper was essentially choosing an area and saying what will this area look like in 2080, 2060, and moving towards the end of the century.
And for Indianapolis at least, what I was looking at here for this tool essentially looks like it's going to be North Eastern Arkansas. So lots of this moving south, lots of the temperature, of course, moving south because of these warmer climates. And trying to get a gauge on what that means in terms of the frequency and intensity and duration of various climate-induced events such as floods and heat-waves.
The ladder which I'll be talking about now. So I do wear a professor hat for once so just indulge me in my professorship for just one minute while I at least give you some of the fundamentals of the work that we're getting into and that is trying to understand what's happening on the ground.
Generally speaking, what we're really getting at with our heat assessments. And even, to a certain extent, any weather-based assessments, meteorological assessments. Sort of thinking about the sun's radiation coming down in this short, very energy-filled packets into the earth, and a lot of that warms the surface.3 So that says ground heat.
Some of it warms the air, and some of it warms the water. And so there are these different ways of describing that shortwave radiation as it interacts with our atmosphere as well as our surface. A lot of that is bounced back from clouds, from surfaces etc. And that really allows us then to quantify the amount of heat, kind of a thermal budget if you will, on the ground.
And there's a whole field of thermodynamics. Planetary thermodynamics that's been instrumental on a lot of the climate models that have being developed to get at this phenomenon. And they're being improved by it everyday. So this really translates on a planetary scale, and what a lot of our work is trying to do is get it down to the neighborhood scale.
And what we're seeing is that this phenomenon of heat coming on to the surfaces that we build in our cities and regions, it really interacts with these surfaces in a variety of different ways, buildings, the materials, they're made of. Trees, the number of them their distribution, whether you have water or any kinds of water bodies in around your region really matters.
And of course, the movement of air and how well that movement of air works matters a great deal as well. And so anthropogenic sources such as air conditioners, cars, other things that humans do also add to that distribution of heat, or at least what you and I would experience as we're walking around a region or a neighborhood.
And so this helps us get to recognize that this is not a new thing. People have been studying this and I don't want to spend too much time on this but just to illustrate that there's a long history of studying heat in urban areas. And this is historically looking at differences between city and surrounding areas.
That's kind of a classic urban heat island where nighttime temperatures stay warm, whereas surrounding areas cool. And current descriptions however that we've been trying to push with our team has been about trying to describe the causes for the differences in heat that we see within the city and across cities.
And that's really getting it how do we use land use policies, how do we use the physical infrastructure? How do we think about the distribution of people in space such that we can reduce the likelihood of impacts of heat, which as you'll hear from Coleen kills more people annually than all other natural disasters.
And so when we're per year and so when we're talking about heat, there is this long history though we're still seeing excess mortality and morbidity as a result of heat waves. So in many methodological as well as designed tools that are developed, though, again, that's a very early stage in what's happening.
Last bit that I'll say at least for my academic side before I transition into practitioner side, is that, these traditional approaches have really used satellite imagery. And differences as I mentioned in nighttime temperatures, satellite imagery has been a large part of how we've assessed urban heat, at least since various satellites like MODIS and others have been launched.
More recently, the NASA has launched Landsat eight which has a ability to actually look at surface temperatures. And so what we're getting at is that that skin temperature so rooftops of buildings not necessarily on the ground, you get, not necessarily what you and I experienced, but rooftops of buildings, roadways, driveways, lawns, forests, etc, the tops of trees.
That's essentially what a satellite is picking up on. More recently, the work has started to integrate the satellite imagery with ground based measurements to try to develop a more real feel, if you will, of what the temperatures are like when you and I are in and around a neighborhood or infrastructure is interacting with that ambient temperature and humidity.
And that's kind of a classic common descriptions of UHI. We've been trying to move into a community based assessment trying to get communities to participate in collecting heat and humidity data. Now I want to spend the rest of the time talking about that. However, before I do that, I might just ask a quick question.
Why might we want to engage a community in doing this work? We have satellites to do it. We have plenty of history of research in doing it. So why might we wanna engage? Poll number two is, why might we want to engage a community in collecting temperatures and describing the local distribution of heat?
So if you just take a quick minute and see if it's any of these is it to connect different groups and sectors to a common threat? Is it to provide insights into the scientific process? Could it be gaining insights about how different land uses media temperatures? Could it be about generating civic legitimacy for advancing climate actions?
Or how about creating momentum for taking mitigative actions at the local level or or is it all of the above? So just take a minute and let if you would, Andrew, if you could launch this poll one more time so that we can see the question number two of the list.
So if you scroll down to question number two, you'll see these same questions appear on that poll. And if you just choose one of those real quick, I think this is one that you'll probably be able to do somewhat quickly, but let's see. If you just-
>> Like we heard from some people that they had to answer all the questions in order to be able to submit their answers.
>> But they can, it looks like they can go ahead and vote again. Okay.
>> Now that they're more informed by your remarks.
>> Okay, thank you. I did not know that, okay. I wanna vote again and see if we can look at poll number two.
>> All right, we'll give you guys about five more seconds.
>> Thank you. All right, and it looks like if we scroll down, it's like all of the above. This is kind of a gimme. There are some other reasons to do this as well of course and their priorities that one could prioritize within this like creating momentum for mitigative action seems to be one area that's definitely of interest and I've been hearing that a lot from community groups as well.
So let me go down and keep going here. That was a chance. So we do this community based assessment to really do all of those things and to really show that there is a process by which you can bring communities together. Start talking about what's happening in our region.
And then what we do is we create these specific approaches where we actually engage the communities in a community science approach with essentially-
>> Instrumenting their vehicles or their bicycles with with sensors, very sensitive sensors they go out and collect hundreds of thousands of individual temperature humidity measurements.
You may have seen some of this showing up in various media publications recently. And then that really helps us to come back to this climate resiliency planning after the analytics of each of those measurement techniques. And so that's been a means by which we've started to collect temperatures and reasons why we might do it.
Though there's a more insidious reason I think that we do this, and that has a lot to do with the historic echoes of land use planning that's occurred in cities around the country. Unlike just like Minneapolis and Indianapolis. Here is two examples. Cities around the country in the 1930s were, as you might well know, were essentially provided funds and support and a federal policy to to create these specific areas called grades.
They were grades A, B, C and D. And from the 1930s all the way up to the mid 1960s, this policy existed as a direct way of being able to encourage development in some areas and not encourage development in other areas. And so what we're noticing in a lot of these places that were historically redlined, as you noticed the red polygons in both of these maps were areas where Often communities of color historically underserved communities.
Immigrant communities, black African American communities were often living and those were the areas essentially segregated from other parts of the city in redline zones. And so this really insidious act and directly racially motivated act was a very direct attempt at allowing some communities to be distance from other communities.
And those communities that were requesting the distance were often those that had access to political power, access to financial resources. And a lot of disinterest in wanting to interact with communities that were in these red blind areas of each city. And so this historic policy that really lasted for over 40 years set in stone and baked in in many respects the temperatures that we see today.
In fact, what we saw when we looked at recent study, we looked at 108 red line cities. And what we found was that there are big temperature differences between the D if you look at the bottom HOLC security rating, is what it was called. The D is in the far right C, B, and A.
We find that the D is generally hotter land surface temperatures, versus the A zones by almost five degrees is what we're noticing in many of the regions. And then in the B graph down below, you see the percentage of land use type and the gray represents impervious surface or concrete if you will, asphalt.
And the green represents trees or any kind of greenery lawns, watered lawns or trees. And we were able to look using satellite imagery at the distribution of impervious surface asphalt, concrete, and greenery. And we found a very similar pattern across all 108 cities as well. And so this really got us thinking that what we're experiencing today in terms of temperatures around the city isn't really about what happened yesterday or day before.
It's really what's been a systematic pattern that's played out from the 1930s and maybe even earlier. So this work has really helped us to kind of further support the community based efforts that we're engaged with. Because in many respects when you look at the cities, and these are some aerial views of cities of regions in the Midwest that have had both redline and non-redlined areas.
And what we see is a very different kind of landscape signature, if you will. You see a lot more canopy in some areas, a lot more kinda manicured and well kept. And then other areas that are far less canopied and far less kept. And often this has to do with the amount of investment that went into these areas from local municipalities.
And these are Stark images to help remind me that this work that we're doing is really for the community and with the community. And so with that, what we do in a nutshell and there's some videos and other things I'm happy to share about this. But I just wanna go through this relatively quick since there's plenty of material out there on this work where we engage the community.
It's usually a city or a nonprofit in a local area. And we essentially guide communities through this recruitment of volunteers. We provide these study areas, these polygons, if you will, where people can go out and collect temperatures. And then we provide training as well as equipment to be able to go out and collect temperatures throughout these areas.
People who are participating in these campaigns go out at 6 AM, 3 PM, and 7 PM. So we get a full diurnal profile of the heat as it really bakes into some areas over the day and then dissipates really fast in other areas throughout the night. Whereas stays hot throughout the day and doesn't really dissipate in other areas as well.
There's often navigators helping with this work and volunteers return the equipment. We actually have Cincinnati, one of the partner cities of this group going this year as well as Detroit as another city cohort running this campaign this year. Finally, we generate a report, do some machine learning analysis on.
We don't interpolate the data, we actually do a very interesting and well scientifically defensible technique of machine learning algorithms that take these temperature and humidity. As well as satellite imagery to describe why these specific temperatures and humidity are what they are in specific locations. We work then back with a volunteer survey, organizer survey to try to understand what we did.
And this is a report from last year's Honolulu campaign, which was a tremendous success for at least the local galvanizing around urban heat. These are some of the results folks go, this is Boston masters, it's folks go all around the region collecting these temperatures. We're able to see those temperatures, in this case 109 was the high temperature, 102.3 was a high temperature in 2019, at least for that particular day.
It's one day where people go out, in this case it was two days cuz they wanted to get a larger expanse of where it is that they're wanting to do some interventions. And then we create these surfaces, these full kind of descriptions of what's going on in and around each of these.
And you see how that changes from 6 AM in the far left to 3 PM in the middle, and then 7 PM in the evening. So that's, at least, some of the outputs. There's some strengths to ground-based measurements. We believe it engages communities in their place. We're kind of creating the civic legitimacy.
And we're also providing these high resolution outputs from the results of what people feel in the diurnal periods of the day throughout the day. And then, of course, the policy applications are relatively evident. There are a few weaknesses that will openly admit too, and that's the coordination of local community groups.
Requires a person usually to coordinate that effort, takes some time and strategy. It's not free unlike satellite imagery, which is free, although it'll require some technical prowess, certainly. There are seasonal differences we haven't yet been able to do between winter and summer, for example. And then if there clouds and things like that, it can really delay or slow down the collection of data.
And finally, these generalizable models for entire regions are still not there. We're still developing those. And that's it, that's a matter of time before we come up with those. Nevertheless, we just wanted to kinda get a sense for what some of the strengths and weaknesses are. So the last poll, I think we already have results for this last poll, which is which organizations might help the coordinator heat fields campaign in summer 2021 in your region?
If that's something that you would be wanting to explore, I would ask Andrew maybe just to push the poll results up now since I saw that they were already submitted. And as we heard earlier, we can maybe get those poll results for number 3. And it looks like public health agencies, university research organizations, or even regional or state public agency could play a role.
That's great. We've seen this happen from a variety of different perspectives. Folks who are at science museums, for example, have been very involved. Various climate or environmental justice organizations have been involved. So there's lots of different ways in which these campaigns can move forward and coordination can happen.
So with that, let me just kinda close out with a couple of results of these campaigns. Like Richmond 300 included some of the results in their heat vulnerability assessment as they're redesigning parts of their city, looking at ways to improve the design of buildings to mitigate some of the heat.
And we meant to kind of segue into Colleen's discussion now. We've been building a series of tools based on these results of these campaigns. We're looking at social vulnerability as a result of these heat maps that we create, as well as scenarios where we're actually looking at what if you were to pave over an entire region?
Or green a region, or put in a roof, put in green rooms, or other kinds of whitening of surfaces. What would that do to this specific city block, or this specific neighborhood? And then finally, a lot of urban forestry groups have been interested in trying to understand what would happen when you put trees in this area.
Or where could we put trees in this specific area? And so we've been busy building tools for various outcomes and directions. I think you'll hear a little more from Colleen. Just one example, in Washington, DC last year, we were looking at one area that was undergoing some potential redevelopment as a public housing development.
And what we did with that heat map is the local planners and public health agency staff identified this neighborhood as being an area that's particularly prime for heat stress. And so we were able to run these essentially computational fluid dynamics models to better describe what would happen, in terms of the temperature and humidity, given different scenarios.
That's what you see the graphs on the right. The blue line, being the base case, what is there right now. And then different scenarios, in terms of what you would do in terms of greening, or green rooms, or lightning surfaces, etc? So there's several different tools like this that we've been actively deploying to be able to support community.
Decision making about what to do in a place that might be particularly hot, and some of the communities may be facing some severe health consequences, as a result. So with that, I kinda captured this all on a shameless plug for a book we published last year of looking at urban climate adaptation, and the role of urban form.
And a lot of these modeling tools, as well as community engagement tools are in this. And it's kind of takes you through a five step process, and happy to chat about that as well. So with that, some contact info about me, and I'll turn it back over to Andrea, and maybe over to directly over to Colleen, as I conclude.
Thank you for your attention, really appreciate this opportunity.
>> Thanks Vivek, we'll just go straight to Colleen.
>> So before I get started, I wanna confirm that you are seeing the correct presentation screen. Does that sound right? Okay, I got a thumbs up from the back. Okay, so thank you so much for inviting me to speak with you today.
This is very exciting. I don't often get to share my public health knowledge with non-public health folks. So it does look like there's a few attendees who are in the world of public health or medicine, so that's exciting. And I was excited to see that Vivek's third poll of the highest rated, who should we be working with was your public health agency.
So I concur, please reach out to your public health agency, whether it's local or state. We love to talk to you. Okay, so we don't have a lot of time left this morning, this morning where I am. I'm in central standard time here in Wisconsin. So I'm just gonna get going.
A brief overview of what I'm gonna talk to you about today. First, I'm gonna give a very brief, what are the human health impacts of extreme heat 101? Just spend a couple of minutes on that, cuz I assume most of you already know all of that. And then I'm gonna spend the majority of my time talking to you about some extreme heat tools that the climate health program at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has created, that I'm hoping might be useful for you, depending on what your role is.
So the very brief climate and health 101. So as Vivek mentioned, we are extremely concerned with extreme heat events, even in the Upper Midwest. Even though they don't get a lot of play, we know that extreme heat events are dangerous and deadly. And as Vivek mentioned, more people die from extreme heat related causes in the US than any other extreme weather topic.
And based on climate change projections, more heat events are likely to come, with extreme heat events becoming more frequent, and more intense. The effects of extreme heat, like most climate change impacts, are not felt equally. In those photos that Vivek showed, those aerial photos were a really stark reminder of that.
Certain populations are at greater risk. And for some historical context, the 1995 extreme heat wave, it was very notable in the Midwest. An estimated 700 people died from heat related illness in Chicago, and 91 folks died in Waukesha, Wisconsin that summer. So it's a huge issue, people die from this.
I just wanted to step back a little bit, and give a little context on the climate health program at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which is where all of these tools and resources come from. So the Wisconsin Climate Health Program is 100% federally funded from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a program called Building Resiliency Against Climate Effects.
And the map that you see on your screen there highlights the 16 states into cities that are funded through this funding opportunity. We've had funding since 2012. And are just about to start our fifth year of a five year competitive grant cycle, and are hoping for continued funding in the future, because this work is so incredibly important.
So first off, before we go any further, I do wanna acknowledge and thank WICCI, which is the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts. It's an organization that we've been partnering with since the inception of the Climate and Health Program. They do provide all of the climate projections and climate related data that the Climate and Health Program uses.
So the data that I'm gonna to show you momentarily comes from our partners over at WICCI. So Wisconsin's climate, much like that of the Midwest, has shifted, and has warmed by two to three degrees Fahrenheit since 1950. This warming trends that we're seeing is expected to continue for years to come.
Depending on the emission scenario we end up with in the future, Wisconsin may warm by anywhere between three to eight degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2050. The frequency of very hot days is also expected to increase. The figure on the left shows the historical annual number of days above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
We can compare that to the figure on the right, which shows the projected annual number of days above 90 degrees from 2041 to 2060, under high emissions conditions. So the key message here is that with this pair of maps, is that the number of extreme heat days approximately triples in the future.
While there are many human health impacts of climate change in Wisconsin in the Upper Midwest, including those on the slide like extreme cold and winter storms, increases in precipitation and flooding events. Vector borne disease increases, mental health impacts, economic impacts and power outages, which have a myriad of negative human health effects.
For today's presentation, we're just gonna focus on the human health impacts of extreme heat. So extreme heat has the potential effects, as we already discussed of heat related fatalities, but it also can cause heat stress and fainting. It can exacerbate many chronic disease conditions. And there are other human health related impacts from extreme heat.
Changes in surface water and groundwater can occur. Negative effects can occur to patients who take some mental health medications. And as I mentioned, power outages can occur during extreme heat events, and that can have huge impacts for folks relying on medical equipment. Certain factors can increase one's risk of heat related illness and death.
The biggest one of these factors is age. So infants, young children, and older populations are at higher risk of heat related illness. Though there are other vulnerable groups, including outdoor workers, those with cardiovascular disease, or hypertension. Pregnant women and anyone taking certain medications. And I do want to mention before moving on related to what Vivek was talking about not human the human health impacts of climate change are not felt equally.
They are disproportionately felt by some populations. So in order to focus our work at the climate health program with the Division of Public Health in Wisconsin on this health equity work, we're directing our efforts to working with priority populations. And these populations were highlighted in the 2016 report from the US Global Change Research Program entitled Climate and Health Assessment.
And include those with low income, communities of color, immigrant groups including those with limited English proficiency, indigenous peoples. Children and pregnant women, older adults, vulnerable occupational groups, persons with disabilities. And persons with preexisting or chronic medical conditions. So with that, I'm gonna switch gears and that was sort of the end of the what are the human health impacts of extreme heat?
And now I wanna talk about what are the tools that the climate and health program has created to assist with preparing for and responding to these events. So we do have a suite of tools. We have an extreme heat toolkit. We have created a heat vulnerability index. And I briefly wanna talk about a type of rapid needs assessment called the Community Assessment of Public Health Emergency Response, which is a mouthful.
And so the fun little acronym the CDC developed for that is CASPER. I also threw a fourth toolkit into the mix, hoping that that might be something that could be used for extreme heat in local communities as well. So first I'm gonna talk about extreme heat toolkit. So as I mentioned, the climate health program, the Wisconsin Department, sorry, Wisconsin Department of Health Services as a whole suite of extreme weather toolkits.
They include extreme heat which we're gonna talk about today. Winter weather, thunderstorms, and tornadoes, drought, wildfire, vector-borne disease, flood, and chemical releases. And these are all publicly available on our website for download. And I think that Andrea has either already shared these tools with you, or will when she sends out the summary later in the week.
So the target audience for these tools are local public health professionals and local government officials. The objective of the tools to outline the health impacts of these various extreme weather events. And how to respond to them. The tools all include response checklists, talking points responding to the media, and message maps.
So, delving a little bit more deeply into the extreme heat toolkit. So all the toolkits are the brief summary of the historical and climate projections in Wisconsin related to the topic at hand. I don't think they'd be vastly different for Indiana. So feel free to steal these. The extreme heat toolkit contains the following individually downloadable PDF guides.
So if you just want to download and use a portion of this rather than the whole entire toolkit that's also possible. So we have heat alert definitions, heat illness and symptoms, extreme heat tips, populations vulnerable to heat, checklists for extreme heat. And talking points and message maps. And I just wanted to mention that in addition to each of these extreme weather toolkits.
There's an accompanying one pager with the target population being the general public, on tips of how to keep your family safe. And these are available in both English and Spanish. I did want to mention and I know Janet mentioned this in the intro. Given COVID-19, there are COVID-19 considerations that need to be taken into account.
Our toolkit has not been updated to include those considerations. But my suggestion to you would be to reach out to your local public health agency or state public health agency for tips on how to thoughtfully and carefully prepare for and to respond to extreme heat events right now.
Because we don't want our cooling shelters to be a source of virus transmission. So we, for example, Wisconsin Department of Health Services does have a lot of information available related to this. And again, I would just suggest you reach out to your local public health, your state public health agency to get more information about how to do this.
So, the next tool I wanna talk about, and I'm gonna keep this really high level. So please ask questions at the end if you have any. 15 minutes isn't enough time to talk in detail about any of these tools. But I do wanna tell you about our heat vulnerability index, which we have at the state, county, and tribal level.
These are maps that we've created. So a little background as part of our work in the climate health program, we were tasked from the CDC with forecasting climate impacts and assessing vulnerabilities. And knowing that extreme heat is such an issue even in Wisconsin, we wanted to better understand the vulnerability related to heat across the state.
So we assembled a number of different data layers 22 to be exact, into a heat vulnerability index and created a state level map. One of the goals of the project was to use our heat vulnerability maps to help inform public health interventions. Very briefly, we conducted a literature review, we found that San Francisco had already created a heat vulnerability index.
And we copied their methodology. We created a standard methodology and ended up with 22 data layers, like I mentioned. There are a couple fewer data layers for the county and tribal lands, HVI maps because of data limitations. And I took out my notes about what all those data layers were.
But I did want to mention when Vivek was talking about social vulnerability and impervious surfaces in his talk. That reminded me that there are four main categories of data that goes into these heat vulnerability indexes. And one of the categories is population density. And I believe that takes into account impervious, impervious surfaces.
And then we also have a whole category of demographics which takes into account all the various demographics that would go into a social vulnerability index. So those variables are accounted for in these index maps. I wanted to briefly talk about the application of these vulnerability indexes. So we've shared them with our partners.
And we're hoping that they can use them in their agencies to plan for heat events. So, for example, these maps can be used to determine where cooling centers should be located. And to inform messaging and public health interventions. And we have actually at the climate health program used our own prior research to inform where we conducted our prospective extreme heat related rapid needs assessment, the CASPER in 2018.
So we used our own maps to decide where to conduct that rapid needs assessment, okay? So, this is the fourth tool that I sort of snuck in here after talking to Andrea and Janet the other day. We did create a series of cohorts of mini grant pilot projects that we funded between July of 2014 and September of 2016.
And you can see where those counties are located on the map on the right. And we've worked closely with each of these pilot projects to create a community engagement process. In which each community identified what climate related health impacts are of greatest concern to them in their particular community.
What adaptation strategy seemed most feasible. And then coming up with action plans for implementing these adaptation strategies. Now, I mentioned this toolkit because or this project because we the end result was that we made a toolkit documenting our process. Knowing that we weren't gonna have additional funding moving forward to fund local health departments.
We wanted to document our process and encourage other local and tribal health departments to conduct this community engagement, climate, action, planning work. So this is available on our website. And there's an accompanying PDF workbooks that goes along with it that anybody can use. So I encourage you to check that out.
So then finally, I gotta check my time here, okay. The final project I wanted to talk to you about is this perspective extreme heat rapid needs assessment that we did. It's the community assessment of public health emergency response, or CASPER. And I just wanna mention that CASPER doesn't work for everyone everywhere, this is just a type of rapid needs assessment.
I'm not recommending you use this particular methodology, it's actually quite rigorous and can be tricky. And I don't know that this type of strict, rigorous methodology is absolutely necessary for all the types of projects that you might want to conduct. So I just wanna put that out there, that this is what we did, but I'm not saying that this is what you have to do.
But rapid needs assessments are really helpful to learn about the needs of your community, so I will encourage that. So, we, along with local partners, piloted a tool developed for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called the Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response, or CASPER. Which is an epidemiology tool that's used to rapidly gain information about the needs of a community.
It was originally developed to be implemented after a disaster such as a hurricane or a flood. The information can be used to determine critical health needs or the effectiveness of relief efforts of an affected community. The data is collected by going door to door to administer a short 10 to 15 minute survey.
In recent years, the methodology has also been used prospectively for preparedness CASPERs. In this particular project, it was conducted in a non-disaster setting and on the topic of extreme heat preparedness. And this was the first CASPER to ever be conducted in Wisconsin. It was conducted in mid September 2018, in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
And again, we conducted the CASPER there based on our heat vulnerability index in prior years. Which indicated that Milwaukee Wisconsin is one of the most vulnerable geographies in Wisconsin during an extreme heat event. We chose to conduct a CASPER for multiple reasons. We wanted to build capacity at the state and local level for future CASPER implementation.
We wanted to better understand levels of knowledge, ability to cope and respond during extreme heat events. And we wanted to inform future extreme heat plans in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The data results and findings have been shared with multiple audiences, including the Milwaukee municipal officials, to inform extreme heat planning and communication about extreme heat events.
Milwaukee community groups to increase local knowledge of how to cope and adapt to extreme heat events. And internally in Wisconsin's Department of Health Services to help build capacity for future CASPER implementation. So in the interest of time, I just picked a few key findings from our CASPER survey results to highlight cuz I found them interesting.
So, from the survey, we learned that only 9% of households had no air conditioning. However, even though a pretty high percentage of households have some form of air conditioning, over half felt too hot inside their home sometimes most of the time or always. And these findings suggest that the air conditioning that many of these folks have isn't sufficiently cooling their home.
32% of respondents experienced symptoms due to heat in the past summer. And another notable finding was that 63% of households did not know the location of a nearby cooling center, which suggests that more work could be done to increase that awareness. We also found that the term cooling center was problematic for a variety of reasons.
So I could talk about that for a long time now. So yeah, to summarize my presentation, I just wanted to wrap up by sharing a summary of the tools. Again, I think Andrea will be sharing all of these with you, they're all publicly available on our website. You can download them, you can post them to your organization's Facebook page or website, feel free to copy them and make them useful for you.
And, yeah, I just wanna reiterate that, please, do get in touch with your local public health agency or state public health agency if you are working on making extreme heat plans or responding to extreme heat events. Just making sure that you're taking COVID-19 into account for that work.
Wanted to acknowledge and thank the climate health program team, which I am no longer part of, sadly, after seven years of being part of it. The current climate health program manager who just joined our team about six weeks ago came back to us after having been an intern many years ago.
She has been working in preparedness, and because of that, has been 24/7 COVID, which is why I'm giving this presentation. Erika Kluetmeier, who's our com specialist. We have a fellow, Tenny Yangdron. And our Chief Medical Officer Jon Meiman, who is also 24/7 COVID, so I haven't seen him in months.
And Roy Irving is our section chief. So I just wanna acknowledge and thank them. They make up the climate health program these days, and feel free to reach out to me with any questions. Though this is no longer my role, I am very available to answer any questions related to anything I talked about today or anything kind of health-related.
So please check out our website and feel free to reach out to me. Thank you so much for your time and hopefully we have time for a few questions. I will stop sharing the screen now.
>> Thanks to you both, that was great, incredibly informative. I'm sitting here having brace envy.
It's amazing what you can do with a dedicated team and resources. So please go ahead and either put a question into the chat box, it looks like there's one here, which I can read. And they're coming in, so we do have a little bit of time. So Jim asks, and let me read the whole thing, given recent protests, etc, we can assume that violence between first responders and citizens between citizens and protests, etc, will surely increase as climate destabilize.
However, do you know of any research going on connecting rising heat along perhaps with other climate impacts to increase the violence, perhaps even violence by first responders, especially police? So I offer that to Colleen or Viveck.
>> So I don't have a good answer to that, it's a great question though.
I do know that there is research linking violence and extreme heat. There's historical research on that. I don't know of any recent research related to the current defunding the police and protests that have been occurring in our nation. That's something that now I'm going to have to look into.
But yeah, I don't know of any very recent research on this, but there's definitely a link between extreme heat and violence.
>> Yeah, I'm sorry, Viveck go ahead.
>> No, go ahead, please.
>> Well, I was just gonna say that I can second that. Because I've actually looked at some of that research, and we'll try to find a site or two and get that out to the group.
Viveck did you wanna add something?
>> No, this is a field that got me interested in, this is an area that got me interested in heat originally. I just say that our bodies respond to stress in a variety of different ways, I've come to understand. You've heard of the fight or flight idea, but it is really kind of ingrained in us evolutionarily, I would surmise, that this response to stress, heat is an incredibly potent stressor.
And it's one of those things where we don't often know that we're stressed because our body is so busy kind of thermal regulating and coping with it in the best that it can. And so a lot of the fatalities that we see is because often people don't even know they are stressed in that sense.
And they're sleeping many cases, and it's overnight heat in their homes that we've seen some research come out about. And so, I just link it back to the whole, much larger question of stress and our ability to respond to it, and how our bodies each respond differently. And it overwhelmingly seems to suggest that violence, it's not a causal relationship, but it is a means by which the body attempts to cope.
>> I have to say that I'm having flashbacks to the Marlon Brando movie, Streetcar Named Desire, where it's very hot in that movie down in New Orleans and there's violence simmering under the surface of every scene. Heidi asks, when coordinating ground based measurements with our local community, how do we connect with marginalized groups that are the most vulnerable to extreme heat?
That's a great question, Heidi, thank you.
>> Yeah, maybe I'll take that one, if there's other thoughts on this, I'm open to it. But there's multiple avenues by which we've found success in being able to engage communities who have historically not either participated in climate related activities, participated in environmental activities, or in any kind of, at least, city sponsored activities.
And one approach that we've leaned on more than anything else is working with local trusted organizations. And it's not necessarily that there's those relationships that are created already, though if someone is planning, let's say, a summer 2021 heat campaign, then part of what we found to be helpful is to start developing those relationships with community based organizations well in advance.
So it's not kind of a research and retreat model. We really believe in sticking around for the long term, really wanting to support community and building the trust. Because until that's done, it's going to be really hard to really get through some of this stuff, which I'll just quickly add, that there is a long history of distrust between any kinda state or city or federal sponsored program and communities have been historically marginalized.
And so the first step is really building that trust and then recognizing that there may be a lot of learning to be done on all sides and a lot of listening certainly to do on all sides. And then by building trust, I think the elegance and implementation of the tools, tool kits as well as the engagement really follows.
>> Yeah, and if I can quickly jump in and add to that, so one of things I didn't get to mention for purposes of time is that whether Casper or rapid needs assessment, we spent a year and a half planning that and working with local community partners. One of whom is a Federally Qualified Community Health Centre and clinics 16th Street in Milwaukee.
And then also we worked very closely with Unite MKE, which is a local community health worker organization because we felt that trust issue that Vivac is talking about. We wanted there to be our pairs of surveyors going and knocking on doors. We wanted one of those team members to be from the local communities.
So we partnered with Unite MKE to make sure that there was a community health worker from the neighborhood who was paired up with a public health practitioner to go and collect that data. And I would just put a plug in for working with community health workers because they know their community, they live in their community.
They are trusted entities. So if you don't know what that is, look it up because we're out of time already. But check out community health workers and get to know them and I can't reiterate more of what Vivac said about building those relationships with trusted community partners, that's really the route to go and listening.
Because we only know so much, we don't know the community. So just sitting, stepping back and listening and learning before making any plans or moving forward with any of your projects.
>> Yeah, that's super good advice. So there are three more excellent questions and I just can't bear not putting them out there.
So hopefully people will be able to hang over for just a couple of minutes for some quick answers from our speakers. The first is from Brian to Vivac, what's the best way to engage local governments to take incremental action to address climate change as it relates to heat?
For example, planting more trees. Government seems slow to respond.
>> Is that to me?
>> Yes, it is.
>> But either of you could answer.
>> I'm not seeing it in the chat window here.
>> It was just sent to me prior, for whatever reason.
And I think I got, what's the quickest way to respond?
>> How do you persuade local governments to actually take action? They seem so slow to respond, to which many on this call may say amen.
>> Yeah, that may be so much about kinda building the groundswell to engage in this conversation.
So, working with local again, I'm a big proponent of working with trusted local organizations. We worked for example with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. So, local science museum to kinda advance the conversation by doing workshops. We're certainly involved in engaging community members in public testimony at city council meetings when we are talking about things like tree planting that connects, when we're talking about our public health that connects us, when we're talking about land use decisions or climate action plans or climate resiliency plans.
This is a very integrative concept and to kind of see it as that it has tendrils into lots of different actions that are currently underway. And if we're not taking it into account, particularly, as we put in buildings and things like that, that have 50, 80, 100 year time horizons.
It can really be unwieldy to try to back into retrofitting or redesigning buildings, once they're put in the ground. So really working at the groundswell of activities that's currently already underway.
>> Yeah, I'd also add that you can find strange bedfellows. So who else is interested in planting more trees?
It may be people who aren't thinking about climate change at all. But they're strong advocates for whomever they approaches. So David asks whether either of you have worked with electric utilities to improve their policies related to customer disconnections during extreme heat events.
>> I personally have not engaged in those conversations, but it has been a topic that has come up because in Wisconsin, I believe there's a similar understanding with many of the utilities to not turn off heat during the winter.
And so the conversation is then how is extreme heat different in the summer? So I know those conversations are starting to happen, but I personally haven't had them yet. But it's a great question and that work needs to be done.
>> And I don't have a solid answer to that either.
It is an area that's just early, along with this air conditioning question. We really don't know the extent to which air conditioners are being used. And what Colleen was saying about these survey results, that's entirely emerging information at this point. And in my job at the university, I have a couple of PhD students actually looking at AC use and its role in terms of future projections for the infrastructure systems that we've designed that may not be able to withstand the demand that we're seeing come up right now.
>> Well, I happen to know that David, this is an area of research that David focuses on.
>> Quite significantly. We also just recently did, through you, something called the Hoosier Life Survey where we surveyed several thousand Hoosiers about various things related to climate change. And the vast majority of them say that they haven't use air conditioning, which is a good thing to know that most people have it.
But, of course, it costs money, and the risk of having it turned off when you don't have a job Is present for a lot of people. Jennifer asks, are the speakers aware of any data or sources that speak to the return on investment of the financial investment into projects that address extreme heat, recognizing that governments have to justify their capital expenditures, usually by showing the return on investment?
>> I don't know of an ROI specifically on this topic. I know that NRDC put out some papers in the past year about the economic impacts of climate change. But I don't, yeah, I don't know of an ROI specific to this. But this, again, is an area of research we're really interested in learning more about.
In fact, we're having a conversation internally a couple weeks ago about the need for hiring, increasing our capacity, our evaluation capacity within the division of public health and how we want evaluators to know how to do ROI as well, how to evaluate that as well. So we're a state agency, we're not an academic institution, though most of us are like, we'd like to think that way.
But yeah, area that we need to learn more about. So I'll turn it over to Vivac now and see if he knows more about that.
>> I've tried to connect with several economists who work on this issue and that is an area that I think has enough data right now to be able to start looking at broad trends.
We saw a recent report come out from CDC about the implications for the number of excess mortality morbidity. But then what this ROI is about is like, how can you show, similar to the previous question, how can you show council electeds that this is really something that will have long term, even short term, investment returns.
And so, the cost of debt, needless to say, is very high. That's probably, kind of, overwhelms a lot of the other more incremental components of this, such as energy. I had a master student look at energy use at individual household for 250,000 households in the Oregonary area. And we found that two households that are essentially the same, one that's in a hotter area meaning it's about 15 degrees hotter at the same time, pays about $750 more per year in cooling cost if they're running their AC than in the area that's much cooler, same house, same design, same time frame.
And so, this has a potential effect on pocket books and return on investment as well, and then of course, the way we go about designing developments is something we're spending a lot of time on.
>> Great, both, yeah, and if there's any citations to material that you can provide to us, that would be great and we'll send them out.
So the last question from Layvee, I hope I pronounced your name right. What do we know about the difference between temperature and temperature feels like because the latter may have important health indications during extreme heat, temperature feels like?
>> Colleen, you wanna take that?
>> You wanna feel this one?
>> I can, yeah, we do this-
>> I'll let you.
>> Okay, just in a nutshell, we do this a lot, this as a technical question in terms of including or not including humidity, so there's many different ways to do this. And this is a whole field of research in and of itself.
But our simplest way of doing it is when we collect temperature, we also collect temperature and humidity so that when you get this combination, you get what's essentially called a heat index. And that heat index and thermal comfort allows us to better describe those thresholds at which the body is no longer able to cool itself.
So that's usually about 13 degrees Celsius or 98.6 Fahrenheit and those are thresholds where you reach this wet bulb temperature and that's quite a significant impact on human ability to cope. And so the humidity or the temperature feels like is an essential part of the calculation with, at least with respect to our ability to sweat and cool off.
>> All right, well, you should all be seeing an important, urgent poll on your screen that gives us important feedback. So please take a minute and vote. The votes are coming in. We won't close off the call before people have had a chance to vote. I wanna thank our speakers Colleen and Vivek.
This has been really, really informative about a really important topic. So I've just got a zillion little reminders to myself of resources that we ought to run down. I wanna wish everybody a safe and healthy August, stay cool. And I get lots of work or relaxing or both done.
So that you can be refreshed in August. That's what we plan to do and taking a month, and we'll look forward to providing you with a big old roster of really interesting webinars starting in September. Andrea, any last words from you?
>> I don't think so. We've got a good response, so I think we're really close out.
>> All right, goodbye everybody and thanks again for joining us today.