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    Monitoring and moderating extreme indoor temperatures in low-income urban communities

    Wilby, Robert L. and Kasei, R. and Gough, K.V. and Amankwaa, E.F. and Abarike, M. and Anderson, N.J. and Codjoe, S.N.A. and Griffiths, P. and Kaba, C. and Abdullah, K. and Kayaga, S. and Matthews, T. and Mensah, P. and Murphy, Conor and Yankson, P.W.K. (2021) Monitoring and moderating extreme indoor temperatures in low-income urban communities. Environmental Research Letters, 16 (024033). ISSN 1748-9326

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    Climate change presents significant threats to human health, especially for low-income urban communities in the Global South. Despite numerous studies of heat stress, surprisingly little is known about the temperatures actually encountered by people in their homes, or the benefits of affordable adaptations. This paper examines indoor air temperature measurements gathered from 47 living rooms within eight low-income communities of Accra and Tamale, Ghana. Using multiple temperature indices and a tiered analysis, we evaluate indoor temperature variations linked to roof type, ceiling insulation, presence of fans, and tree shade, for different housing types and locations. Our data reveal indoor temperatures in the range 22.4 ◦C to 45.9 ◦C for Accra, and 22.2 ◦C to 43.0 ◦C in Tamale. Using dummy regression analysis, we find that tree shade reduces the number of very hot days (>40 ◦C) and nights (>30 ◦C) by about 12 and 15 d per year, respectively. Building materials also strongly moderate indoor temperatures but in opposing ways: rooms with traditional mud walls and thatch roofs are on average 4.5 ◦C cooler than rooms in concrete block houses with uninsulated metal roofs during the day but are 1.5 ◦C warmer at night; rooms with ceiling insulation are on average 6.9 ◦C cooler in the day but 1.4 ◦C warmer at night. We conclude that sub-daily data are necessary for reporting extreme indoor temperatures, and that trade-offs between minimum and maximum temperatures require interventions to be assessed carefully before attempting to counter extreme heat inside homes.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. This work was funded by the British Academy under the Cities and Infrastructure Programme CI170211. The VEWEC team thank the communities, in particular the Community Champions, for facilitating the fieldwork. We are especially grateful to all the participants who repeatedly welcomed us into their homes and workplaces to record the temperatures they experience. Ben Roberts kindly supplied data on temperature variations within rooms linked to measurement heights above ground level.
    Keywords: climate change; extreme heat; informal settlements; indoor temperature; Ghana;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units, ICARUS
    Item ID: 13989
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Conor Murphy
    Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2021 12:06
    Journal or Publication Title: Environmental Research Letters
    Publisher: IOP Publishing
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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