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Heat Wave Risk Perceptions

Heat Wave Risk Perceptions

Extreme heat events are currently the leading weather-related cause of death in the United States, and can have significant impacts on vital social systems including food, water, energy and infrastructure. As a result of climate change, such events are projected to increase in both frequency and magnitude in the future. Prior studies suggest that individuals’ perceptions of heat risk are shaped by a combination of socio-environmental context and recent heat event experience—extreme heat events at the beginning of the summer, for example, tend to result in greater mortality than subsequent events.

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In this new project, YPCCC will collect survey data to investigate the role of socio-environmental context and personal experience on perceptions of heat risk at varying scales in the United States. By examining how perceptions of heat risk are jointly shaped by personal experiences with severe heat and socio-environmental factors like age, gender, and geography, YPCCC researchers hope to develop greater understanding of risk perception for extreme heat events at the individual, local, and county scale. Emergency managers and policymakers can then leverage this information to target at-risk communities before a major heat event occurs.

Check out our first peer-reviewed article in this project:

Public perceptions of the health risks of extreme heat across US states, counties, and neighborhoods

You can also find more results on our blog.

 This project is undertaken with generous support from the National Science Foundation (#DRMS-1459872). For more information, contact Jennifer Marlon (

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