May 16, 2022 9:00 am

Citizen science, urban heat island and health

Francisco Martin Leon 5 min
A community volunteer attaches the heat sensor that will collect heat data as part of NOAA’s Heat Island Mapping Campaign in Kansas City, Missouri on August 6, 2021. (Island Monitoring Campaign Kansas City Heat). NOAA

The NOAA National Integrated Heat Health Information System and scientific partner, CAPA Strategies, are now accepting applications from organizations interested in participating in the Urban Heat Island 2022 monitoring campaigns.

Campaigns involving community members and scientists will work to map the hottest areas in their communities to find out where actions are needed to protect vulnerable populations now and in the future.

Mapping campaigns are run by local citizen science organizations in a participating city, and rely on volunteers to travel around the city using sensors attached to cars to collect data on temperature, humidity, weather, and GPS location. The resulting maps provide a detailed analysis of the heat distribution in the morning, afternoon and evening. These public campaigns raise awareness of the growing health problem of urban heat islands (urban heat islands , UHI) and inform interventions to address extreme heat, such as tree planting, smart surfaces, and incorporation into climate action plans.

The climate crisis is accelerating and exposing inequalities such as urban heat islands in communities across the country”Said Rick Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA administrator. “As part of NOAA’s effort to create equity in all aspects of our operations, we are pleased to partner with CAPA Strategies and local groups to create maps that will help communities address the growing health concerns of extreme heat.“.

Over the past four years, more than three dozen cities in the US have participated in the UHI mapping campaign. Communities from 11 states participated in the 2021 campaign, which finalized data collection in September. The reports of these communities will be published continuously until December.

This map shows all the locations that have participated in the NIHHIS-CAPA Urban Heat Island mapping campaigns from 2018 to the present. (NOAA)

NOAA will provide funding to CAPA Strategies to support campaigns in approximately 8-10 communities in 2022. There are three new features planned for the 2022 mapping campaigns:

  • Additional monitoring products will be tested in some cities. While standard campaigns provide a good snapshot of how temperatures vary in a community on a hot day, adding stationary sensors to the campaign can provide a longitudinal view of how these spatial patterns also vary over time under different weather conditions.
  • UHI mapping campaign is now part of the initiative Justice40 from the Biden Administration, and applicants will be asked to describe how the campaign will advance environmental justice initiatives in their community. During the campaign, participants will track and report on the allocation of benefits to environmental justice communities.
  • The mapping campaigns will be open to global cities for the first time, and NOAA expects one or two cities to be selected outside of the United States. NOAA is partnering with the Global Heat Health Information Network (Global Heat Health Information Network, GHHIN) to reach communities in other countries.

Applications must be submitted by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on Friday, January 14, 2022. Applicants will be notified of the result in early February 2022.

Get more information about UHI campaigns and how to request them.

Learn more about the interventions that have resulted from the Urban Heat Island mapping campaigns in this series of NOAA NIHHIS webinars.…

November 2021


This entry was published in Reports on Nov 29, 2021 by Francisco Martín León

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