Press release: Bloomington Residents Invited to Map Local Hot Spots

The following press release is from the City of Bloomington, Indiana:

City among 13 selected by National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association

BLOOMINGTON, IN – The City of Bloomington announced that it has been selected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the 2024 Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaign. Residents are invited to participate in identifying neighborhood areas experiencing extreme heat.

Bloomington is among 13 cities across the globe that will map the hottest neighborhoods in their communities. Identifying these areas, called urban heat islands, will help Bloomington take action to reduce the health impacts of extreme heat and provide cooling relief for those living in the hottest areas, according to City staff. 

Urban heat islands are areas that are characterized by fewer trees and more pavement, which can cause them to be up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than nearby neighborhoods. 

Extreme heat is the number one weather-related cause of death in the U.S. for the last three decades. Summer 2023 was Earth’s hottest on record, and communities across the globe felt this heat and its impacts to health, infrastructure, agriculture and more. 

City staff, students, and community members will hit the streets of Bloomington this summer to collect data about the distribution of heat as part of a regional effort to map where people are most at risk during extreme heat waves. Using heat sensors mounted on their own cars, volunteer community members, led by the City’s Economic and Sustainable Development Department, will traverse neighborhoods in the morning, afternoon, and evening on one of the hottest days of the year. The sensors record temperature, humidity, time, and the volunteers’ location every second. The end-to-end program, including sensor technology, community engagement, analysis, and modeling will be supported by CAPA Strategies and allows communities to develop hyper-local descriptions of where the hottest parts of their community are and strategize mitigation options specific to Bloomington.

“The heat mapping campaign is an opportunity to raise awareness about and ultimately mitigate the root causes and impacts of extreme heat. Engaging community members to collect heat data in their own neighborhoods builds awareness of the health risks of heat in those most directly affected,” said Shawn Miya, Assistant Director of Sustainability for the City of Bloomington.

The urban heat island map will be incorporated into Bloomington’s Climate Resilience Plan, which is currently being written with input from the community. The data will inform tree planting throughout the City and provide a framework for creating cool corridors along routes of high pedestrian and bicycle use. The campaigns will also provide insight that can be used to develop public education events. 

Residents interested in participating in the urban heat mapping campaign should email [email protected]. To learn more about previous NOAA urban heat island mapping campaigns, visit https://capastrategies.com/capa-heat-watch/. ####

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