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USA - NOAA seeks applicants for 2023 urban heat island initiative

Communities must apply by December 16 for heat mapping project

Organizations interested in better understanding extreme heat in their communities are encouraged to apply for the 2023 Urban Heat Island (UHI) mapping campaign program, managed by NOAA’s National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS), in partnership with CAPA Strategies LLC.

In the seventh year of the program, NIHHIS and CAPA Strategies will support community-led citizen science campaigns in cities and counties across the United States, as well as internationally. These campaigns will allow participants to map the hottest areas of their communities and learn where action is needed to protect those most affected by high temperatures.

“The burden of heat is not shared equally in our urban areas,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “These mapping campaigns identify the hottest neighborhoods so communities can take action to make them cooler and lessen the health burden of extreme heat. Organizations that participate play a key role in making their communities Climate-Ready and resilient to climate change.”

The UHI mapping campaigns are run in the summer by a lead organization in each community, such as a local university, nonprofit group or city health department. The campaigns rely on citizen scientist volunteers who travel different assigned routes using sensors attached to cars or bikes to collect data on temperature, humidity, time and GPS location.

The data are used to create maps that provide a detailed analysis of the distribution of heat in the morning, afternoon and evening. The maps and community reports also reveal how factors in urban environments — such as lack of green space and tree canopy or concentrated areas of pavement and buildings — can create neighborhood-level islands of heat that contribute to health inequities within a community.

These public campaigns raise awareness in each community about the growing health issue of urban heat islands, and have informed actions to address extreme heat. Previous campaigns have:

The UHI mapping campaign is also part of the Biden Administration’s Justice40 initiative, and applicants will be asked to describe how their work will further environmental justice initiatives in their community. During the campaign, organizers will track and report on the allocation of benefits to disadvantaged communities.

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