Climate Change Vulnerability Health Tool
Climate change is of indisputable importance in planetary health due to global warming, increasing frequency of extreme weather events, and air quality hazards such as wildfire smoke in conjunction with low but ubiquitous levels of anthropogenic pollution. The health impacts of these exposures are felt at a local scale, especially by subpopulations who experience disproportionate vulnerability to climate change impacts on their health. Guided by the IPCC framework for vulnerability, we used spatial data science to combine relevant environmental indicators into dimensions of sensitivity, exposure, and adaptive capacity to create a vulnerability map and online tool for community use. We addressed climate change health vulnerability at the community level for older adults and immigrants using ArcGIS Pro, Python, ArcGIS Online, and StoryMaps. Understanding climate change vulnerability is an important aspect of adapting to and mitigating risks among older adults and immigrants. Our work can educate public stakeholders, inform public policy, guide inclusive adaptation and risk mitigation strategies, reduce health risks, and promote further research. We are currently expanding this work to develop and validate climate change-related chronic disease vulnerability indices for a similar tool for the province of Alberta. We envision that our interdisciplinary approach will be useful for a national-level climate change public health surveillance program as the inputs can be modified according to other geographic/administrative contexts.