The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar

Splash! Summer guide

HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Minorities more likely to live in 'urban heat islands,' study finds

LOS ANGELES - Blacks, Asians and Latinos are more likely to live in "urban heat islands" that are most at risk during extreme heat waves that are expected to worsen due to climate change, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of California Berkeley used satellite imagery to find neighborhoods in hundreds of U.S. cities where there are few shade trees and a lot of heat-absorbing, impervious surfaces like pavement, cement or roofing.
The authors paired that information with data from the 2000 Census to find that blacks were 52 percent more likely than whites to live in "urban heat islands" - microclimates that can get an extra 5 to 10 degrees warmer during heat waves - while Asians were 32 percent more likely and Latinos were 21 percent more likely.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, also found that people who live in more segregated cities, including whites, are more likely to live in heat-absorbing neighborhoods.
"Overall this pattern of racial segregation appears to increase everyone's risk of living in a heat-prone environment," study co-author Rachel Morello-Frosch, a professor of public health and environmental science at UC Berkeley, told the Los Angeles Times.
The research highlights one way in which minorities are likely to suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change. Living in a concrete jungle could put blacks, Asians and Latinos at greater risk during heat waves, which are expected to become more intense, frequent and long-lasting as cities heat up.
Extreme heat waves are responsible for about one in five deaths from natural hazards in the United States, the study said.
To help reduce the risk, the study recommends that city planners plant more trees, paint highly reflective roofs, use pavement that absorbs less heat and consider racial and ethnic inequalities in decisions about adapting to a changing climate.
"Efforts to minimize heat risks in cities need to be more attuned to the racial disparities we see on a national scale," Morello-Frosch said. "We need to make sure that any heat mitigation strategies really focus on the most vulnerable communities."

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

HeraldNet highlights

A garden of ideas
A garden of ideas: Find a wealth of inspiration on Snohomish tour
'Everything fit perfectly'
'Everything fit perfectly': Lake Stevens QB explains why he committed to Georgia
A parking battleground
A parking battleground: Crowds flock to Lighthouse Park for beaches, farmers market
Summer on a plate
Summer on a plate: Many ways to enjoy melon, season's happiest fruit