Measuring Vulnerability to Extreme Heat in Lubbock, Texas Using a Heat Vulnerability Index

Authors: Aaron Flores*, Texas Tech University
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Climatology and Meteorology
Keywords: Extreme Heat, Vulnerability, Climate
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Napoleon B1, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Extreme heat has a significant impact on human health and is the leading cause of weather related mortality in the United States. Climate change is expected to increase the intensity and frequency of extreme heat events in the future. For these reasons, it is essential for municipalities to adopt adaptation and mitigation strategies that will decrease human vulnerability to extreme heat. To adopt such strategies, identifying locations of the most vulnerable communities is critical. A significant approach is to create a heat vulnerability index (HVI). The use of an HVI allows for spatiotemporal analysis of vulnerability to extreme heat at finer spatial scales by combining remote sensing technologies with demographic data. To assess census block group vulnerability to extreme heat using remote sensing technologies, Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) were utilized. A single-date Landsat image from each summer in the study period (2010-2014) were used to derive average land surface temperature (LST) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for Lubbock, Texas. Furthermore, demographic data from American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates (2010-2014) were used in this analysis. Thus, the main focus of this analysis aims to identify census block groups (CBGs) disproportionately affected by extreme heat events. This study also aims to identify which social (e.g. socioeconomic status, race, education, etc.) and physical variables (e.g. exposure to high LSTs) contribute most to a CBGs vulnerability to extreme heat.

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