From Space to Front Porch

Connecting Earth Observations to Health Outcomes with An Environmental Exposure Modeling System

Funded by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Applied Sciences Program Grant #80NSSC18K1594.

How does weather (and climate) affect human health? Every year, we are seeing increasingly harsher weather, including bigger and more frequent hurricanes, stronger heatwaves, wildfires, and more. Are some people more vulnerable than others? How do geography, the built environment, and human activity patterns affect vulnerability? In this project, developed a prototype system to enhance the CDC/ATSDR Social Vulnerability Index, which identifies vulnerable communities following disasters to improve health hazard mitigation planning. This system incorporates estimates of rainfall, temperature, power outages, and flood water derived from GPM, MODIS, VIIRS, and the European Space Agency's Sentinel-1 satellite, while utilizing health outcomes in greater Houston from pre- and post- Hurricane Harvey as a case study. A synthetic population constructed from multiple data sources is used to model the effects of mobility and time-varying exposures. Working with project partners at CDC and the Houston Health Department, results from this work demonstrate the utility of Earth observation data and population modeling for emergency management decisions.



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