Effects of socioeconomic characteristics on exposure to heat advisory conditions and perception of heat in Knoxville, Tennessee

Authors: Alisa L. Hass*, University of Tennessee, Kelsey N. Ellis, University of Tennessee
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Geography and Urban Health, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: urban heat island, heat, heat health, bioclimatology, individually experienced temperatures
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 4:00 PM / 5:40 PM
Room: Napoleon B1, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Warmer conditions are often reported in more densely populated areas than nearby rural areas. This is brought on by factors such as more impervious surfaces, less evaporative cooling, and anthropogenic heat production. Varying socioeconomic and neighborhood characteristics often affect the availability and usage of heat adaption resources and methodologies. Personal perception of warmth and the ability to thermoregulate can also affect whether heat adaption methodologies are used during a heat event. City- and neighborhood-level evaluation of heat events do not reveal levels of access to heat adaption resources or personally preferred heat adaption methodologies. In conjunction with lifestyle surveys, individually experienced temperature and humidity data were collected for 38 residents over two days that exceeded heat advisory conditions and two days of below normal temperature conditions. Statistical analysis will be used to determine which socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, such as income and age, contribute to the amount of time residents are exposed to heat advisory conditions and how residents perceive heat. These analyses will provide information about factors that contribute to reduced access to and usage of heat adaption methodologies and which urban residents are more at risk for exposure to heat. Based on these results, recommendations for individual-level heat adaption and neighborhood- to city-level heat mitigation methodologies will be developed to increase access to heat adaptation resources and reduce heat-related illnesses.

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