The California heat wave 2006 with impacts on statewide medical emergency: A space-time analysis

Alexander Gershunov, Zane Johnston, Helene G Margolis, Kristen Guirguis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The unprecedented July 2006 California heat wave was associated with an accelerating trend in regional humid heat wave activity that is related to global warming. In this work, we identify and summarize effects of that meteorological extreme event on California morbidity as quantified by daily emergency department (ED) visits data aggregated at the county level. Besides local county-level daily correlation analysis, we use canonical correlation analysis (CCA) to summarize spacetime relationships between ED visits and temperature as well as humidity. We find intriguing spatial patterns of public health impacts of heat and humidity that potentially suggest modulation by various factors including demographics, adaptation and acclimatization that may be related to local climatology and social factors determining access to air conditioning. Health outcomes as measured by ED visits are found to be generally more sensitive to extreme heat and humidity in coastal counties and the north-central part of the Central Valley, which are known to be more affected by coastal influences, than in inland counties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalGeography Research Forum
StatePublished - 2011


  • Canonical correlation analysis
  • Climate change
  • Heat waves
  • Humidity
  • Morbidity
  • Public health
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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