This past Sunday, August 7th, NOAA CPO employees and residents of Maryland’s Montgomery County participated in the National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) “Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaign”. Over 600 people expressed interest in helping with the campaign. To keep things efficient, county planners had to cap their acceptance of volunteers at just over 100. At the event, volunteers became “street scientists”, using heat sensors mounted on vehicles to collect temperature, humidity, time, and location data around the county.
The campaign involved three mapping sessions: 6AM-7AM, 3PM-4PM, and 7PM-8PM. The press event, held at 2PM in Silver Spring’s Acorn Park to kick off the afternoon session, included a meet and greet with volunteers, local officials, and local media, and a sensor demonstration by the heat mapping team. National Weather Service (NWS) Director Ken Graham, Montgomery County (MoCo) executive Marc Elrich, and Gretchen Goldman, Assistant Director for Environmental Science, Engineering, Policy, and Justice at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), delivered remarks. Ken Graham discussed the importance of the campaigns, MoCo climate projections, and the newly launched Heat.gov.
In Montgomery County, inequitable planning and development has led to more intense heat and a disproportionately higher density of urban heat islands in some areas of the county than in others. Sunday’s county-wide collaboration between local organizations and volunteers will produce heat maps that will assist in generating innovative solutions for extreme heat in the community.
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For more information, please contact Morgan Zabow.