May 6, 2022


Extreme heat is a significant and growing health burden. This burden is particularly acute in poor and minority urban communities, where the urban heat island tends to be enhanced and vulnerability to heat-related illness is high. These environmental justice implications of urban heat are widely recognized, and cities have begun to prioritize efforts to quantify heat vulnerability and implement equity-oriented reduction strategies. In this seminar Dr. Zaitchik will report on a transdisciplinary collaboration, focused on Baltimore, that includes high resolution heat mapping, evaluation of heat reduction and adaptation options, and the development of a multi-criteria decision support tool designed to engage stakeholders in iterative analysis of heat mitigation priorities and investment strategies. Broader application of this approach to multi-hazard climate resilience strategies will also be discussed.

Dr. Ben Zaitchik is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins. He is an Earth scientist whose work includes study of fundamental atmospheric and hydrological processes as well as application of this knowledge to problems of water resources, agriculture, and human health. In this context, Dr. Zaitchik leads multiple projects focused on the propagation of climate stresses through complex coupled natural-human systems. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Zaitchik was a Research Associate at NASA and a AAAS Fellow at the U.S. Department of State. He is currently the President of the GeoHealth Section of the American Geophysical Union, Chair of the World Meteorological Organization Research Board Task Team on COVID-19 and climate, meteorological, and environmental factors, and a Commissioner on the City of Baltimore Sustainability Commission.