Dr. James Shope
, Applied Climatologist, and Pritpal Bamhrah
AICP, Senior Research Specialist, of the NJ Climate Change Resource Center (CCRC) introduce the CCRC’s recently released Heat Vulnerability Index (HVI) for New Jersey.
What is a Heat Vulnerability Index?
- Heat vulnerability is the extent to which a community or person is likely to experience negative outcomes from extreme heat, such as increased hospitalization.
- An HVI combines social and environmental factors that disproportionately exacerbate heat-related illness and death to highlight which communities may be more vulnerable to extreme heat.
- An HVI is a valuable tool for communities, policymakers, and local officials to target strategies to protect the communities
that are most vulnerable to extreme heat.
Why is a Heat Vulnerability Index important for New Jersey?
- New Jersey’s average summer temperatures have increased by 3.5 °F since 1900, and summers are expected to become hotter and heat waves more frequent and longer.
- More extreme temperatures will likely increase heat-related illnesses, hospital admissions, and mortality, especially among New Jersey’s most vulnerable communities.
Dr. Shope and Ms. Bamhrah review how NJ’s Heat Vulnerability Index can help communities, policymakers, local officials, and other practitioners identify which communities may be more at risk during extreme heat and what factors contribute to vulnerability. They also cover how the HVI is constructed, how to apply the index, and why we need to consider heat vulnerability in New Jersey’s climate future.