Bright orange sunset over silhouetted urban skyline

Prior work tells us that emergency managers, planners, and others that make decisions about extreme heat are using climate information for adaptation planning. But it’s not clear how extreme heat decision-makers decide what science to use or how it can best support this relatively new planning process. Building on the results of a recent survey of U.S. planning professionals from geographically diverse communities (Meerow and Keith 2021), this work aims to understand more about extreme heat information and its use by practitioners in the U.S. 

Locations of interview and survey respondents for the extreme heat investigation

Our research team employed a two-round, mixed-methods, social science approach that helps to qualitatively fill in the gaps in knowledge about decision support by those planning for and making decisions about extreme heat. Round one consisted of in-depth, group interviews with 38 emergency managers, planners, and other extreme heat decision-makers from 19 states, Washington, D.C., and all 10 U.S. EPA regions. The collaborative workspaces that these processes enabled allowed for open, comfortable, conversation and offered opportunities for participants to not only answer our research questions but also to learn from each other’s experiences. 

Through this process, we compiled a list of 33 “needs” identified by group discussion participants, which were then included in a survey that was sent to a broader group of extreme heat decision-makers and previous discussion participants. 124 decision-makers from 38 states and Washington D.C,. and all EPA regions completed the entire survey. Overall, this study includes perspectives of 144 extreme heat decision-makers from 40 states and Washington D.C..

Specific recommendations and investigation findings are forthcoming. For more information on this investigation, contact

Heat Mitigation and Management Investigation Team

Kelli M Archie

Aspen Global Change Institute (AGCI)
Research Affiliate

Daniella Hirschfeld

Utah State University
Assistant Professor

Sara Meerow

Arizona State University
Assistant Professor

Ladd Keith

University of Arizona
Assistant Professor