CR 24:255-265 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/cr024255

Heat, mortality, and level of urbanization: measuring vulnerability across Ohio, USA

Scott C. Sheridan*, Timothy J. Dolney

Department of Geography, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio 44242, USA

ABSTRACT: Few studies have examined heat vulnerability on a sub-metropolitan area level. This paper presents an analysis of heat vulnerability across Ohio (USA) on a county level. Each county is classified as Œurban¹, Œsuburban¹, or Œrural¹. Four different criteria defining what is meteorologically Œoppressive¹ are evaluated individually. Each of these criteria is associated with an increase in mortality of several percent statewide. Absolute increases in mortality are greatest across urban counties, as expected. When these values are evaluated as a percentage increase in mortality, rural and suburban counties actually show a greater response. The differences among the 3 groups are not statistically significant. This research thus suggests that merely being an urban resident does not make one more vulnerable to heat.

KEY WORDS: Heat vulnerability · Human mortality · Synoptic climatology · Atmospheric hazard · Suburban · Urban · Rural · Ohio (USA)

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