Extreme Heat and Climate Change

Research in this topic area aims to understand the drivers and impacts of extreme heat, particularly in the Southern California coastal region, as well as how these impacts could be mitigated given the projected intensification of extreme heat due to climate change. This research area also includes marine heat waves.

Research Projects

NSF CoPe Extreme Heat Research Hub


An NSF-funded research project to study the atmosphere, land, and ocean processes that affect extreme temperatures along the Southern California coast, the impacts of this heat on human health, and how sustainable use of green space might help mitigate these heat impacts. Education efforts aimed at broadening participation in STEM and community engagement efforts are critical components of the project.

Leads:  Dr. Mark Merrifield, Staff Research Associate Maren Hale, Dr. Tarik Benmarhnia, Dr. Morgan Levy, Dr. Rachel Clemesha, Dr. Kristen Guirguis, Dr. Sasha Gershunov, Dr. Cheryl Peach, Dr. Nan Renner, Darbi Berry

Collaborators: UCSD CREATE, Birch Aquarium, Understanding Global Change, San Diego Science Project, San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, Tree San Diego, Groundwork San Diego, UCSD Center on Global Justice

Read more about the project at SoCalHeatHub.UCSD.edu

Investigating Green Space as an Extreme Heat Adaptation Strategy

Children Playing in Sprinkler

An exploration of different green space implementation scenarios across San Diego County and how they could lead to reductions in hospitalizations due to extreme heat.

Leads:  Staff Research Associate Maren Hale, Dr. Tarik Benmarhnia

Read more about this project…

Making Connections Between the Ocean and Coastal SoCal Summer Temperatures


An assessment of what drives temperatures in the Southern California coastal region and how these drivers connect the land to ocean processes.

Leads:  Staff Research Associate Maren Hale, Dr. Mark Merrifield

More information coming soon!