Defining heat waves and extreme heat events using sub-regional meteorological data to maximize benefits of early warning systems to population health

Author: Sara McElroy, Lara Schwarz, Hunter Green, Isabel Corcos, Kristen Guirguis, Alexander Gershunov, Tarik Benmarhnia

Year: 2020

Published in: Science of The Total Environment Volume 721

Extreme heat events have been consistently associated with an increased risk of hospitalization for various hospital diagnoses. Classifying heat events is particularly relevant for identifying the criteria to activate early warning systems. Heat event classifications may also differ due to heterogeneity in climates among different geographic regions, which may occur at a small scale. Using local meteorological data, we identified heat waves and extreme heat events that were associated with the highest burden of excess hospitalizations within the County of San Diego and quantified discrepancies using county-level meteorological criteria.