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Jennifer Vanos is an interdisciplinary scientist with backgrounds in weather, climate, and human health. She currently works across two Departments at UC San Diego: Climate, Atmospheric Science, and Physical Oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health in the School of Medicine.
Dr. Vanos specializes in the study of human biometeorology, which is an interdisciplinary science that studies the influence of atmospheric processes on human health. Her focus lies in human exposure to extreme heat and air pollution within urban areas, human heat balance modeling, and the influence of microclimatic landscape design on said exposures. She further works to holistically understand the heat stress through human heat balance modeling and the biophysical mechanisms underlying the heat balance in vulnerable populations in conjunction with their micro-environments. Her research transfers across scales, from regional- to city- to micro-scale, which influences the way in which researchers collect, apply, and connect weather/climate and health data. Vanos’ work has focused on both large epidemiological datasets and personal exposures and responses to environmental head loads and ambient radiation. Assessing exposures at a human scale allows her to better understand the personal health impacts and suggest/implement targeted urban adaptation strategies to improve health and well-being into the future.
Dr. Vanos runs the Laboratory for Urban Climate Instrumentation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and utilizes novel technologies to monitor urban microclimates. Microclimate measurements provide the evidence base for heat mitigation/adaptation through greenspace development, understanding the influence of urban design on thermal comfort, and the development of spaces conducive for the intended use (e.g., recreation). Adaptive strategies focused on bioclimatic urban design allow for decreased heat stress and improved thermal comfort. Finally, Dr. Vanos’ research is increasingly geared towards understanding the environmental exposures of children, a highly vulnerable population to extreme heat, air pollution, and UV radiation, and lessening adverse exposures for promoting safe physical activity.