DR. KALKSTEIN BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Laurence S. Kalkstein is President of Applied Climatologists, Inc. His academic career spans over 40 years and appointments at three universities: UCLA, the University of Delaware, and the University of Miami. He received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and his Masters and Ph.D. from Louisiana State University.
His team works closely with international weather, environmental, and health agencies on projects dealing with weather and public health issues. His most recent collaborations involve detailed evaluations of how cool cities solutions, such as reflective roofing and paving products and additional urban tree canopy cover, can alter heat wave meteorology and mitigate health problems during excessively hot weather. His most recent contracts include collaborations with the 3M Corporation, which manufactures a number of products that are used in urban cool solutions planning. Certain urban structural modifications, such as highly reflective roofing products, have been shown in our research to cool cities by up to several degrees, which contributes significantly to lesser numbers of negative health impacts during extreme weather.
Kalkstein also serves as principal investigator and co-founder of the Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative (LAUCC; consisting of university, governmental, and non-profit partners) which has developed a comprehensive neighborhood plan to lessen urban heat island negative health impacts in that city; LAUCC received a two-year grant from the U.S. Forest Service to pursue this research. In addition, LAUCC recently received a grant from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to understand how urban forestry can reduce the risk of increased morbidity during excessively hot events. LAUCC and Kalkstein organized a workshop in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in fall, 2019 to develop a similar neighborhood-scale project for that urban area.
Kalkstein’s Synoptic Climatology Laboratory has been actively involved in many other climate/health initiatives. These include the implementation of heat/health watch-warning systems for major cities around the world. These systems are funded by both private and government organizations such as NOAA/National Weather Service, US EPA, various electrical utilities, local health departments, state environmental organizations, and government agencies in other countries. At present, a number of such systems are in operation in the United States, Italy, South Korea, Canada, and China. Kalkstein and his colleagues have also developed the first cold advisory system for cattle, or CANL (Cold Advisory for Newborn Livestock). This system, now in operation at a number of National Weather Service Offices in the Northern Plains, advises ranchers when weather conditions are unsuitable for young livestock.
Dr. Kalkstein and his colleagues are also actively involved in the development of various weather indices for use in applied climatological and climate/health analyses. These include air mass-based synoptic classifications such as the Spatial Synoptic Classification (SSC) and the development of a relative climatological index, the "Heat Stress Index" (HSI; funded by NOAA/National Climatic Data Center). Both indices are used widely by researchers around the world.
Kalkstein has worked extensively with a large number of non-profit environmental organizations to evaluate the impact of climate and climate change on human health. This includes a recently funded collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, to evaluate the impact of climate change upon heat-related negative health outcomes, the Union of Concerned Scientists, to determine if the hottest air masses are becoming more frequent and oppressive, the Cool Roof Rating Council, to evaluate how differing roof surfaces can alter meteorology, and the Global Cool Cities Alliance, where he serves as Technical Advisor.
He has served as lead author on IPCC Working Group II chapters relating to climate change and human health; he received recognition for this work from the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in 2007 with Al Gore and the other lead authors. Kalkstein serves as rapporteur and expert team member for several UN World Meteorological Organization panels on extreme weather and human health, and was part of the team to develop a comprehensive assessment of climate extremes and mortality which was published in the journal Weather, Climate, and Society in July, 2017.
Through a Fulbright Fellowship, Dr. Kalkstein was assigned as the American Team Leader on a U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation contract (CRDF), and has collaborated with the Russian Team Leader (Dr. Elena Grigorieva) to develop a detailed climatology of eastern Russia, along with the health impacts of this extreme climate. Both teams met in Birobidzhan, Russia to promote air mass-based methodologies that have been developed at our Laboratory. He has also worked extensively with the Korea Meteorological Administration on climate/health issues and air mass classifications for major cities in that country, and has worked jointly with the World Health Organization and World Meteorological Organization on weather/health assessment projects in Italy and China.
Dr. Kalkstein is past president of the International Society of Biometeorology, the largest biometeorological organization in the world. The ISB deals with wide-ranging research involving the impact of weather upon animals, plants, and human health and well-being. Throughout his career, he has published over 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts, monographs, and book chapters in leading climatological, geographical, and medical journals and has been editor for two major climatological journals: Climate Research and the International Journal of Biometeorology. Most important, he has been collaborating with a number of his ex-graduate students and other young colleagues who have provided invaluable support in meeting the varied research demands of the Synoptic Climatology Laboratory. Many of these individuals are now professors at major institutions such as the University of Oklahoma, Kent State University, University of Virginia, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and California State University, Los Angeles, and have developed major national and international reputations themselves. Others have undertaken successful careers at government or private institutions such as Environment Canada, the National Climatic Data Center, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and the U.S. Geological Service. These collaborations are perhaps the most satisfying success stories of the Synoptic Climatology Laboratory.