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Social sensing of heatwaves

Young, JC, Arthur, R, Spruce, M and Williams, HTP (2021) Social sensing of heatwaves. Sensors, 21 (11). p. 3717. ISSN 1424-8220

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Heatwaves cause thousands of deaths every year, yet the social impacts of heat are poorly measured. Temperature alone is not sufficient to measure impacts and “heatwaves” are defined differently in different cities/countries. This study used data from the microblogging platform Twitter to detect different scales of response and varying attitudes to heatwaves within the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (US) and Australia. At the country scale, the volume of heat-related Twitter activity increased exponentially as temperature increased. The initial social reaction differed between countries, with a larger response to heatwaves elicited from the UK than from Australia, despite the comparatively milder conditions in the UK. Language analysis reveals that the UK user population typically responds with concern for individual wellbeing and discomfort, whereas Australian and US users typically focus on the environmental consequences. At the city scale, differing responses are seen in London, Sydney and New York on governmentally defined heatwave days; sentiment changes predictably in London and New York over a 24-h period, while sentiment is more constant in Sydney. This study shows that social media data can provide robust observations of public response to heat, suggesting that social sensing of heatwaves might be useful for preparedness and mitigation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans; Cities; Australia; London; Hot Temperature; United Kingdom; extreme weather; heat; heatwave; natural hazards; social media; social sensing; Australia; Cities; Hot Temperature; Humans; London; United Kingdom; 0301 Analytical Chemistry; 0502 Environmental Science and Management; 0602 Ecology; 0805 Distributed Computing; 0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Analytical Chemistry
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Liverpool Business School
Publisher: MDPI
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2024 14:09
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2024 14:15
DOI or ID number: 10.3390/s21113717
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22736
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