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It’s Getting Hot in Here: Understanding and Addressing the Risks of Heat on Human Health

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In Person
Thursday, March 21, 2019
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Around the world, the number and intensity of heat waves are on the rise; the last three decades have seen the warmest years on record. Efforts to better understand and manage the risks of extreme heat on human well-being are important. Rising temperatures can create deadly conditions for many vulnerable populations, especially the elderly, infants and young children, pregnant women, those with chronic health challenges or disabilities, and those who work outside. When combined with other conditions such as drought, heat waves can threaten food security, increase demand for water and energy, and strain public services.

The March Adaptation Community Meeting will focus on global efforts to better understand and respond to increasingly frequent and severe heat waves and their impacts on human health. The event will include a summary of USAID’s work to capture knowledge about heat waves and heath and efforts to address this challenge. The event will also feature a roundtable discussion on the outcomes of the first global forum of the Global Heat Health Information Network (GHHIN) to accelerate learning and action to address the health risks of extreme heat. Presentations will cover the following topics:

Overview of the Global Heat Health Information Network (GHHIN), its goals and outputs of the first forum.
USAID’s work on heat and health, including a recent USAID Adaptation Thought Leadership and Assessment (ATLAS) project report on Heat Waves and Human Health: Emerging Evidence and Experience to Inform Risk Management in a Warming World.
Red Cross’ work in urban heat in developing nations.
The state of play in the science of forecasting heat wave early warnings from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

About the Speakers:

Hunter Jones is a Climate and Health Projects Manager within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program Office (CPO) serving as a UCAR CPAESS Affiliate. He is currently leading sevarl pilots of the National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) along the U.S. Mexico border, and in the Northeast, to improve climate and health information for enhanced heat-health resilience. He is a founding member of the Global Heat Health Information Network (GHHIN), serves on its steering committee, and helped plan the first GHINN forum in Hong Kong in December 2018.

Pete Epanchin is a climate adaptation specialist with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). He is currently with the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3). In that role, he co-leads a global partnership with NASA which fosters local capacity to use Earth-observation satellite data to address challenges in water resource management and hydro-climatic disasters, food security, and land use, land use change, and ecosystem management. Previously, Pete has worked at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the development of accounting methodologies for carbon dioxide emissions from various renewable fuels including forest-derived biomass, agricultural biomass, and municipal waste. He has served as a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, implementing the Endangered Species Act. Pete holds a Ph.D. in ecology from UC Davis; his scientific research has focused on species' responses to climate change and to invasive species.

Roop Singh is a Climate Risk Advisor for the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre working at the intersection of climate and society where she provides decision support to disaster managers in six regional offices linked to 190 National Societies to access, interpret and use climate risk information for decision-making. She plays a knowledge brokering role by working with scientists to conduct research that is relevant for disaster managers (e.g. attribution and risk analysis of extreme events), as well as translating key scientific publications (e.g. IPCC’s Special Report on 1.4 degrees) for use by practitioners and policy makers. As part of the Climate Centre’s urban team she focuses on extreme heat including by developing a global city Heatwave Guide for city managers and working to fill key research gaps on the impacts of extreme heat in Africa and Asia. Roop holds a Master’s in climate and society from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s in atmospheric science from Cornell University.

Dr. Wassila Mamadou Thiaw is a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Team Leader for the Climate Prediction Center (CPC)’s International Desks. He was a National Academy of Sciences (NAS)/National Research Council (NRC) post doctorate fellow at NOAA. He has worked extensively on monitoring and forecasting for Africa and the tropics. The CPC International Desks support the U.S. government humanitarian mission overseas, especially food security and disaster risk reduction. He recently initiated a project to develop climate information relevant to the health sector, including heat waves, and vector borne diseases. He has served on the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Council and currently serves in other AMS and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) committees. Dr. Thiaw holds a B.S. in meteorology from University of Dakar, Senegal and a Ph.D. from University Clermont-Ferrand-II, France.

Related Resources:

Heat Waves and Human Health: Emerging Evidence and Experience to Inform Risk Management in a Warming World

A live webinar of the event will be available here. This event is part of the monthly USAID Adaptation Community Meetings.For more information and to stay up-to-date on