On the hottest days of the year, where you live can make a big difference. How can we reduce the impacts of extreme heat in our neighborhoods?
Local governments and community volunteers are joining forces to locate hotspots, known as urban heat islands, where temperatures can be 15°F to 20°F hotter due to paved roads, parking lots, and fewer trees.
Heat islands can have health impacts on vulnerable populations, and also require buildings to use more energy for cooling.
This summer, the Johnson County and Unified Government of Wyandotte County health departments are conducting a heat mapping campaign to locate hotspots. Identifying areas most impacted by extreme heat can help decision-makers take action.
The county governments are currently seeking volunteers to sign up as community street scientists for a one-day campaign across the two counties to collect data as part of the 2023 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Urban Heat Mapping Campaign. Communities in 14 states are working with NOAA to map heat inequities.
“The burden of heat is not shared equally in our urban areas,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad. “Gathering this type of environmental intelligence helps communities measure their hottest places so they can develop strategies to reduce the dangerous effects of heat. Community by community, we’re working to create a Climate-Ready Nation that is resilient in a changing world.”
Join the hunt to find the heat
Volunteers are needed in Johnson County and Wyandotte County to collect data. The campaign day will be scheduled on a hot, sunny summer day when there is a low chance of rain and wind speeds.
Data will be collected at three times during the day with sensors that record ambient temperature, humidity, and GPS locations by the second. Routes have been pre-planned where data collection is needed.
It is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, August 12 but could change depending on the weather forecast. Tentative backup dates include August 11, 18, or 19.
No experience is necessary to join the effort. Those interested in volunteering can sign up through the volunteer interest form.
Community partners include:
- Bridging the Gap
- CleanAirNow KC
- City of Overland Park
- Groundwork Northeast Revitalization Group
- Heart to Heart International
- Johnson County Government
- Johnson County K-State Research and Extension
- Mid-America Regional Council
- NWS Forecast Office Kansas City, MO
- Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS
To learn more about the 2023 Heat Mapping Campaign in Kansas, visit jocogov.org.