Hotter nights suggest increase in heat-related deaths

Phoenix Skyline

A recent study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, indicates that increasing overnight temperatures pose a greater threat to human health in Maricopa County than daytime temperatures. Because this phenomenon is largely attributed to urbanization and the heat-retaining capacity of the built environment, the increase in overnight temperatures may be mitigated by implementing a lower-growth strategy.

The study, co-authored by senior sustainability scientist Matei Georgescu, sought to quantify heat-related deaths using three urbanization and adaption scenarios along with multiple exposure variables. By guiding long-term planners and public officials toward more sustainable urban development strategies, these findings may decrease the number of heat-related illnesses and deaths otherwise reported in Maricopa County.