Earth Institute fellow at Columbia University, New York:
Robbie Parks is an environmental epidemiologist. He is primarily interested in understanding the impact that climate, weather, and air pollution can have on mortality and disease outcomes. While at the Earth Institute and the IRI, he will work as part of ACToday, a Columbia World Project. He will focus on modelling how climate variability affects undernutrition in vulnerable groups. Robbie recently earned his Ph.D. from Imperial College London, where he was supervised by Majid Ezzati and Ralf Toumi. He also holds an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Oxford. In summer 2017, during his studies, Robbie interned at the World Meteorological Organisation, a constituent part of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland. While interning, he became a founding member of the Global Heat Health Information Network. Robbie very much enjoys communicating his work to the public, and has been involved in several recent outreach projects, including GREEN SPACE.
Climate change, extreme weather, and health:
I am an honorary post-doctoral associate research scientist interested in examining how climate change and extreme weather may be influencing the patterns and trends evident in intra-year variability of mortality.
I am also interested in simulating extreme heat waves at return periods much larger than available data, using stochastic weather generators. I am involved in using and developing the Imperial College Weather Generator (IMAGE) for this purpose.
My research includes building mathematical models, including Bayesian spatiotemporal models, both to analyze past trends of seasonality of human mortality and to forecast possible futures for climate change risk assessment.
I completed my PhD working in the School of Public Health with Professor Majid Ezzati, and Space and Atmospheric Physics, with Professor Ralf Toumi.
In summer 2017 I completed an internship at the World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva, working with Dr. Joy Shumake-Guillemot in the Joint Office for Climate and Health. There, I gained strong policy experience working within the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), as well as working with the High Impact Weather (HIWeather) to establish direct health benefits of improved short-term weather forecasting.
I am also a founding member of the Global Heat Health Information Network (GHHIN).
Please also see my report "Experiences and lessons in managing water from Cape Town", published in 2019 and written with the Grantham Institute and the University of Cape Town, about lessons learnt from the recent water drought in Cape Town.
In June 2019, I composed the soundscape for GREEN SPACE - an installation that explores the health benefits of green spaces in cities and how we connect with nature in an urban environment. It will be presented both at the MRC Festival of Medical Research and the Great Exhibition Road Festival.
The soundscape combines meditative synthesisers with delicate piano motifs. I tried to evoke the sanctuary that green spaces provide, inviting the visitors to consider the possibilities simple encounters with nature offer for relaxed, contemplative thought.
et al., 2019, Particulate matter air pollution and national and county life expectancy loss in the USA: a spatiotemporal analysis, Plos Medicine, Vol:16, ISSN:1549-1277
et al., 2018, National and regional seasonal dynamics of all-cause and cause-specific mortality in the USA from 1980 to 2016, Elife, Vol:7, ISSN:2050-084X
Parks RM, 2016, Weather, climate and health, Weather, Vol:71, ISSN:0043-1656, Pages:194-195