The Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast (CCRUN), a NOAA CAP/RISA team, researchers Patricia Fabian, Principal Investigator, and Patrick Kinney, senior personnel, co-authored a recent article titled, “Mixed methods assessment of personal heat exposure, sleep, physical activity, and heat adaptation strategies among urban residents in the Boston area, MA.” Extreme heat events are growing in intensity, frequency, and duration and result in adverse health effects such as poor sleep quality and healthcare utilization due to disease. Heat risks also disproportionately impact older populations, people experiencing homelessness, and those with a lower socioeconomic status. Furthermore, urban areas such as Boston have elevated temperatures due to the absorption of heat through dark and impervious surfaces.
This research used repeated interviews of participants and low cost sensors to collect temperature, location, sleep, and physical activity data for a mixed method of qualitative and quantitative information. Results showed higher personal temperatures than ambient weather station temperatures and inadequate air conditioning (AC) units. Opportunities for heat adaptation interventions indicated by the results include AC upgrades, hydration education campaigns, and improving energy costs during high heat periods.
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Image credit: Museum of Science, Boston and the Helmuth Lab at Northeastern University