Carolinas RISA Team Supports Extreme Heat Risk Assessment and Resilience in Charleston, SC

  • 7 April 2021

The Carolina’s Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA), a CPO RISA team, is collaborating with the Charleston Medical District and the City of Charleston on two parallel programs to address extreme heat. The programs build on the City of Charleston’s first Vulnerability Assessment completed in 2020, which identified extreme heat as a significant risk to the region from increasing heat and humidity exposure, as well as a lack of heat-risk awareness.

While the Vulnerability Assessment identified hazards holistically, Charleston lacks data on where its greatest needs related to urban heat are located and how the City might best prioritize its investments to serve its most vulnerable. Without similar studies in the region, and with little attention at the state level, programs to address heat risk have the potential for significant impact beyond Charleston.

The first program to address extreme heat is CISA's Heat Research Program, which will measure wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) and participant health indicators. This work will continue to inform the development of CISA's WBGT forecasting tool.

The second program, which is in collaboration with the National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) urban heat mapping campaigns, seeks to understand how heat is distributed across neighborhoods and identify vulnerable communities where further action is necessary to mitigate impacts. The City of Charleston will host a press briefing about the heat mapping on April 13, in advance of the NIHHIS April 14 national kick off.

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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather.