Rio Grande/Bravo Extreme Heat and Human Health: NIHHIS Southwest Regional Pilot


Project Background

With hotter temperatures projected for the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo region, it has become imperative to develop more robust systems for dealing with the public health risks associated with extreme heat. Participants at the July 13, 2016 workshop identified physical and public health science, communication, and practice needs and gaps, in order to work on improving extreme heat monitoring and public health preparedness in the region. Working groups, initiated at the July workshop (“work streams”), have continued to work on filling these gaps, including contributing to a broad assessment of existing knowledge and capacity related to climate, weather, and public health in the region.

Executive Summary from the July 2016 Workshop:   English   Español

July 2016 Workshop - Full Report


Gregg Garfin
University of Arizona, School of Natural Resources and the Environment

Sarah LeRoy
University of Arizona, Institute of the Environment, 520-626-4579

Work Streams

To participate in a work stream committee, please complete this form. The goals of each work stream are listed below.

  1. Historical climatology and vulnerability
    • Goal: Improve understanding of (a) the historical climatology of the region, with respect to extreme heat episodes, (b) the historic responses to previous occurrences of extreme heat and the efficacy of those responses, (c) the regional vulnerabilities to episodes of extreme heat, and (d) indicators that will be useful in providing early warning of extreme heat episodes.
  2. Linkages between heat parameters and health outcomes
    • Goal: Improve understanding of the connections and correlations between heat-related parameters and health consequences, in order to determine the most effective parameters to monitor for reducing heat-related morbidity and mortality.
  3. Prediction, outlooks, early warning
    • Goal: Improve understanding of the heat-health forecast products and services that can be made available to predict episodes of extreme heat, on multiple timescales, in order to provide advance warning to reduce heat-related morbidity and mortality.
  4. Communication/engagement and capacity building/training
    • Goal: Ensure the improved understanding, of heat waves and health impacts, is broadly accessible and well understood, so that it influences behavior and reduces morbidity and mortality.
  5. Infrastructure
    • Goal: Assess and improve the financial, institutional, and community capacity and training needed to effectively use early warning information and implement or enhance early warning capabilities, in order to reduce heat-related morbidity, and enhance resilience to extreme heat episodes. 


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Ebi 2007, Towards an Early Warning System for Heat Events

Grineski et al 2013, Double exposure and the climate gap: changing demographics and extreme heat in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Grineski et al 2012, Climate change and environmental injustice in a bi-national context

Harlan et al 2006, Neighborhood microclimates and vulnerability to heat stress

Hondula et al 2015, Geographic dimensions of heat-related mortality

Kats and Glassbrook, Executive Summary: Transforming America’s Low Income Districts

Luber and McGeehin 2008, Climate change and extreme heat events

Minnesota Department of Health 2012. Extreme Heat Toolkit

Petitti et al. 2016, Trigger points for heat-health impacts

Sarofim et al. 2016, Temperature-related death and illness. Read online -

Screen quality download –

Print quality download -

Factsheet -

Toloo et al. 2013, Evaluating the effectiveness of heat warning systems: systematic review of epidemiological literature

SW Extreme Heat Promising Practices

Kick-Off Workshop - July 13, 2016

Please refer to the workshop report at the top of this page for more information about the workshop




Session 1: Welcome, Overview, Introductions

Gregg Garfin - Introduction

Session 2A: Climate Context and Public Health & Emergency Management Decision-making in the Southwest Region

Greg Lundeen - Climatology of heat waves

Grace Ortiz - Extreme Weather Task Force

David Hondula - Phoenix/Maricopa case study

Session 2B: NIHHIS, Heat-Health Early Warning, and NOAA's Climate Resilience Toolkit

Juli Trtanj - NOAA Climate Program Office

Session 3A: Heat-Health Capacity in the Region

Timothy Collins - Vulnerability Overview

Efren Matamoros - Institutional Capacity and Arrangements

Thomas Quinn - Emergency Preparedness, Coordination, and Communication

Carla Campbell - Capacity Building and Training

Session 4: Looking Ahead in Early Warning

Jeremy Hess - Key early warning issues and examples from other contexts (states, countries)

Melissa MacDonald - Example of Early Warning System

Matiana Ramírez - Examples from Mexico

Jon Gottschalck - Forecast capability for early warning