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4 Earth Intelligence Publishes Heat Hazard Data as Vulnerable Population Remains in Lockdown



Bristol, UK, 12 May 2020 - Earth observation company 4 Earth Intelligence has used satellites to create the UK’s first street level map of ‘at risk’ areas to help plan for and manage the effects of extreme weather conditions. With support from the Ordnance Survey through their Covid-19 Response licensing, the Heat Hazard Postcode data is being made available free at the point of use to national organisations and multi-agency partnerships, such as Local Resilience Forums, that are currently battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Derived from satellite imagery and created using automated algorithms, the data identifies hot spots within urban areas where temperatures are generally higher forming an Urban Heat Island. With above average temperatures forecasted, and the summer of 2020 already being predicted as one of the hottest on record, it is feared that this could severely impact on already stretched public resources. It is estimated that the heatwaves of 2019 led to almost 900 extra deaths in England and it is possible, that if the general population is still in lockdown, that the figures for 2020 could be higher.

Increased daytime temperatures, reduced night time cooling, and higher air pollution levels associated with urban areas can affect human health by contributing to general discomfort, respiratory difficulties, heat cramps and exhaustion. These conditions can also cause non-fatal heat stroke and heat-related mortality.

“Even during normal conditions extreme weather events can result in significantly higher numbers of deaths, especially amongst people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions – the same group that are more at risk of COVID-19 and are being asked to self-isolate,” commented Richard Flemmings, CTO and co-founder of 4EI.

“By providing Category 1 responders with intelligence derived from past events we hope that this will help plan for and mitigate against the worst scenario. This information can be used to target vulnerable households with information about coping strategies and signpost supporting organisations or emergency responders.”

An Urban Heat Island or UHI is a metropolitan area that is warmer than the surrounding areas. Heat, created by energy from people, cars, transport and buildings’ heating, cooling and ventilation systems, interacts with materials used to construct city infrastructure that are good at insulating and retaining heat to create a ‘perfect storm’ of elevated temperatures. This can result in urban temperatures that are 3-4 degrees hotter than the surrounding non-urbanised areas.

Research funded by the Department of Health in the UK indicates that over 7,000 people could die from the effects of urban heat waves per year by the 2050s. The UHI effect can also impact air and water quality, and demands for energy, with implications for carbon neutral targets, public health, strategic planning and city resilience.

The 4EI Heat Hazard data will be supplied as CSV files for use in spreadsheets so that end users who are not used to working with geospatial data can easily access the data and will be available for use until the end of September 2020.

The data was derived from satellite imagery captured over the summers of 2017 to 2019. Automated algorithms were used to produce information on land surface temperature. Further processing allowed the data to be standardised across different locations and then was statistically analysed to show the location of heat anomalies throughout Great Britain. Heat anomalies were then split into five categories, demonstrating the tendency of different locations to reach higher temperatures.

To discuss access to the data and please contact heat@4ei.co.uk with information about your organisation, eligibility and coverage required.

CONTACTS:

Robert Peel, Spatially Aware PR, robert@spatiallyaware.co.uk, +44 (0)1666 823306

Donna Lyndsay, Commercial Director, 4 Earth Intelligence, +44 (0)117 933 8562, dl@4ei.co.uk,

www.4earthintelligence.com

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

4 Earth Intelligence (4EI) is a specialist in earth observation intelligence and data services. Built on decades of earth observation excellence, geospatial expertise and data analytics experience, 4EI creates data products, services and insights that enable organisations to manage risk and make informed decisions to improve outcomes.

With a focus on customer need 4EI designs solutions to solve core problems while ensuring data quality is proven, consistent and repeatable. 4EI has worked with government and commercial organisations, and leading academic institutions, to complete a range of projects including a new Global Air quality index, wide-scale habitat mapping and the use of machine learning for urban heat mapping.

4EI will focus on new sectors and technical innovations using machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to provide smart data for global environmental challenges such as climate change, pollution and population pressure.

For further information www.4earthintelligence.com

WHAT IS EARTH OBSERVATION?

Earth observation is the collection of information about the physical, chemical and biological systems of the planet via remote sensing techniques; in other words measurement or information gathering from a distance. Earth observation includes monitoring and assessing the status of, and changes in the natural and man-made environments. Techniques and technologies used for earth observation can range from floating buoys used to monitor ocean currents, temperature and salinity right up to sophisticated satellite sensors.

It is currently estimated there are in the region of 2,000 artificial satellites orbiting the earth designated into separate categories or roles; including communications, navigation and Global Positioning Satellites (GPS). This classification also includes the overarching definition of remote sensing satellite which can itself include a wide variety of sensors, and therefore data captured, including imagery, radar and non-imaging sensors such as infra-red and hyperspectral.

Recent estimates suggest that there are around 700 earth observation satellites, a staggering growth of 250 percent in just four years, which allows for the globe’s entire landmass to be imaged, in its entirety, every day!

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