CCCIA Researchers Receive $5 Million NSF Grant to Study the Impacts of Extreme Heat in Coastal Southern California

Researchers at CCCIA were recently awarded a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Coastlines and People program for a 5-year project to study extreme heat and its impacts in the Southern California coastal region. Director Mark Merrifield will serve as the project’s lead PI, with multiple CCCIA-affiliated researchers serving as co-PIs, and center staff member Maren Hale taking on the role of project manager.

The project will explore three primary research topics pertaining to extreme heat, covering subject matter ranging from the physical climate dynamics of heat to how we can ensure adaptation methods are sustainable. The project will begin by exploring how ocean, atmosphere, and land processes drive and/or modulate extreme heat across varied coastal zone climates, and what changes might be expected with climate change. Simultaneously, researchers will investigate the locally-specific health impacts of extreme heat and how they vary according to land use and socioeconomic factors. Later in the project’s life span, research will delve deeper into questions of where and how green space can be used as an effective heat adaptation strategy, and what the associated climate and water resource constraints of green adaptation might be.

Alongside these core science research questions, the hub will also involve extensive educational outreach efforts with local high schoolers and community college students, as well as an emphasis on co-production of knowledge with community stakeholders that are impacted by extreme heat. To achieve these education and co-production goals, the hub’s research scientists will be joined by education experts from Birch Aquarium and partners at the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative and The Nonprofit Institute.

You can read more about the new research hub in this recent Scripps press release.