Modelling the impact of heatwaves on urban centers in Mexico

Host institution

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM)

Grant year


Project summary

Heat waves globally are increasing in frequency and intensity, with Mexico experiencing a particularly devastating event in June 2023, resulting in over 200 deaths. This project aims to model the potential impact of climate change on heat waves in Mexico and explore the effectiveness of solar radiation modification (SRM) as a potential mitigation strategy. Focusing on mid and large sized urban centres, which have already seen significant temperature rises and heat island effects, the study will assess factors contributing to heat wave severity, including humidity, air quality, and urban sustainability. Despite Mexico having general climate mitigation plans, specific policies addressing heat wave impacts are lacking. This study aims to provide insights for key stakeholders should SRM be considered as a response to climate change. 

The team

Graciela Raga
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM)
Graciela is a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Change at UNAM. She graduated in Meteorology at the University of Buenos Aires and obtained a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington. Her research covers aerosol and cloud processes, synoptic and climate phenomena, and short-lived climate forcers, reported in about 120 peer-reviewed publications. She was a Lead Author in WGI AR4 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. She received the Award for International Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation “RAICES” for Argentine personalities abroad, from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Argentina. Graciela is also Co-Chair of the Regional Assessment of Short-Lived Climate Pollutants in Latin America and the Caribbean, sponsored by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and UN Environment (UNEP), and is currently Lead Author in the UNEP Global Environmental Outlook report. She is also Chief Editor of the Atmósfera journal and Section Editor of PLOS-Climate.
profile photo
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM)
Francisco is a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Change (ICAyCC) at UNAM and a visiting researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He was the head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences of ICAyCC. He is also head of the research group Climate and Society and is currently the Coordinator of UNAM’s Climate Change Research Program.
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM)
Adolfo has specialized in tropical cyclones, their formation, how they intensify, and what their impacts are. He did a PhD in Atmospheric Science at the University at Albany, conducting numerical simulations using the WRF model to reveal the contributions of mountain gap winds in southern Mexico to the formation of tropical cyclones in the Eastern Pacific. Previously, Adolfo studied convection patterns in tropical cyclones proxied by lightning and the impacts of tropical cyclones in northwest Mexico as his Master’s and Undergraduate thesis topics, respectively, both done at UNAM. Currently, he is interested in assessing how extreme events may respond to a changing climate.

Photo credits

Banner: Earth from space Monterrey, Mexico – Copernicus Sentinel 2, 3 March 2023. Photo Credit: ESA – License CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

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