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UC Riverside scientist to explore how vegetation affects urban heat islands
Date:10/28/2008

RIVERSIDE, Calif. Darrel Jenerette, a landscape ecologist at UC Riverside, is on a team led by Arizona State University researchers that will be investigating human vulnerability to deadly heat exposure.

The three-year project will examine how variation in the "urban heat island" a metropolitan area that is much warmer than its surrounding areas impacts human comfort and health risks, as well as how human decisions lead to this variation.

Jenerette, an assistant professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, will investigate the moderating effects of vegetation on urban heat islands.

"I will be researching the potential for plants to reduce summer extreme temperatures in the urban heat island of the Phoenix, Ariz., metropolitan region," Jenerette said. "High temperature events injure and kill many people every year and there is the potential for heat exposures to increase with the combination of urban heat islands and global climate changes."

Arizona State University's Sharon Harlan, who is leading the team, noted that people in cities are in double jeopardy due to urban heat islands and global climate change factors that are increasing and intensifying as they interact.

"With the mounting effects of climate change and half the world's population now living in urban areas one-third of the people in slums the potential for the increasing frequency and severity of heat waves is cause for grave concern," she said.

According to Jenerette, the research team also will look at the trade-off between water use and how it affects local climate and spatial components (for e.g., the proximity of trees and parks to homes; green pathways for pedestrian movement).

"How does one tree incrementally affect its immediate environment a yard, a neighborh
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert

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