Exploring geographic trends of heat stress in Wisconsin 2002 -2012

Authors: James Wilson*, Northern Illinois University, Megan Christenson, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Sarah Geiger, University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign
Topics: Health and Medical, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: heat-stress vulnerability, geographic trends, GIS
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 52
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this presentation we explore the geographic trends of heat stress in the state of Wisconsin between the years 2002 and 2012. We relate environmental and socio-economic data layers to zip code level hospital discharge data to discern spatial and statistical trends in heat stress outcomes. The purpose of this research was to validate findings in previous work concerned with deriving a heat vulnerability index for the state of Wisconsin.

Data are from the US Census, NHGIS (IPUMS), CDC’s BRFSS, PRISM, NLCD 2011, and hospital discharge tracking data by residence for heat stress hospitalizations and emergency department visits during the months of May through September for the years 2002 through 2012 in Wisconsin.

Zip code (translated to Census Zip Code Tabulation Areas) level heat stress populations less than 20 are excluded and then normalized by ZCTA total populations to create a heat stress population surface. This surface is then compared to several different PRISM layers showing regional variations of heating and cooling and separate land cover rasters extracted from the NLCD 2011. Zonal and spatial statistics are employed to analyze integrated environmental, socio-economic, and behavioral risk factor data layers using ArcMap 10.5

Preliminary results suggest that the geographic trend for heat stress is non-urban in nature. Previous studies on more spatially and temporally localized heat stress events indicate that non-urban land cover may be influencing the degree of diurnal cooling coupled with lower access to cooling facilities.

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