Search
Search
Participating agencies:   ASPR   |  CDC   |  EPA   |  FEMA   |  NIOSH   |  NOAA   |  OSHA   |  SAMHSA   

NIHHIS NEWS & UPDATES

NOAA leads community scientists in mapping hottest parts of 13 U.S. cities this summer

Sara Benson (right) and Roxanne Lee (left), of Boston's Museum of Science, using a CAPA Heat Strategies sensor to investigate the July 20, 2019, extreme heat in Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge, Massachusetts during the 2019 campaign. Credit: Photo courtesy of Boston's Museum of Science. 

Running barefoot from scorching asphalt to cool grass in the summertime as a kid, you likely learned how cityscapes tend to get much warmer than green spaces. Extreme heat can be fatal, and buildings and pavement increase its threat, making some parts of cities up to 20°F hotter than other parts.

This summer, citizen scientists will map these hot spots, known as “urban heat islands,” in 13 cities across the country to help communities identify areas where they can take action to protect people from heat stress. 

The mapping campaigns are part of a collaborative project supported by NOAA’s Climate Program Office (CPO) and jointly coordinated by the National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS)  — a NOAA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention effort — and CAPA Strategies LLC. They build on three years of past campaigns that have produced urban heat maps for 11 other U.S. cities.

“Our mapping campaigns engage residents in the scientific process, while teaching them about the Urban Heat Island effect — the extreme temperature difference between cities and surrounding rural areas  — and ways to mitigate risk,” said Hunter Jones, Climate and Health Project Manager with NIHHIS and CPO. “They also produce data sets that are directly useful for managing heat exposure in cities to prevent heat-related suffering and death.”

This map shows the locations of the 2020 urban heat island mapping campaigns cohort. The background shows the average window for the day of the year with the highest maximum temperature based on the 1981-2010 U.S. Climate Normals, the nation’s official record of recent climate. The colors show date ranges progressing from June 1 (lightest yellow) through September 30 (darkest red). The darker the color, the later in the year the hottest day typically arrives. Credit: NOAA Climate.gov using data from NOAA NCEI. 

During one of the hottest days of the year in each of the 13 cities, volunteers will drive prescribed routes in the morning, afternoon, and evening with custom-engineered heat sensors mounted on their own cars. Once per second, the sensors will record temperature and humidity, as well as the exact time and location along the route.

Using the data collected, the CAPA team will produce detailed urban heat maps for the 13 cities that will help city officials and community groups identify specific neighborhoods that are vulnerable to extreme heat. The cities can then determine whether and how to implement strategies like adding trees and green roofs, varying the height of new buildings to increase airflow and create shade canyons, and providing more access to public water parks and air-conditioned spaces.

Extreme heat kills over 600 Americans per year, but with such strategies these deaths are preventable. One study showed that implementing an urban heat island mitigation measure reduces the annual heat-related death rate by 15%. 

Grab and drag the slider to compare a temperature map of Boston, Massachusetts (left), to a satellite view (right). Temperature data are colored in shades of blue (coolest half of the day's temperature range) to red (warmest half). In the satellite image, patches of woods, parks, and other vegetation are shades of green, while pavement, buildings, and other developed areas are shades of white and gray. Credit: NOAA Climate.gov based on data courtesy of Portland State University. 

Due to COVID-19, this year CAPA and its partners have developed plans to observe physical distancing practices by running these campaigns with no in-person interactions. Safety measures will include shipping sterilized sensing gear and hosting online training sessions with the local campaign teams.

The summer 2020 cities selected were the highest-ranked applicants in a competitive process that considered which communities had the greatest need, most promising partnerships, and the clearest applications for the mapping results. Each campaign will be led by a team of local partners in each city such as city sustainability offices, environmental non-governmental organizations, health departments, and volunteer citizen scientists. 

The mapping campaigns are just the beginning of beneficial outcomes from these efforts. Past campaigns and datasets have seeded workshops on urban heat at museums, new research into urban forestry approaches, and exploration of interventions and potential policy changes within city governments to protect against urban heat stress.

“With climate projections of more intense and more frequent heat waves, the effects of urban heat islands on communities will likely be a growing concern across the country,” said Jones. “These campaigns will provide actionable information for cities to increase their resilience to extreme heat.”

For more information, please visit nihhis.cpo.noaa.gov/Urban-Heat-Island-Mapping

Video: UHI Mapping Campaign Roundtable (June 3, 2020)

Print
23510

x

 

HEAT FORECASTS

 

 

Current Temperature Probability Outlook

  • 6-10 Day
  • 8-14 Day
  • Month
  • Three Month Outlook
  • Weeks 3-4 Experimental Outlook Temperature Probability
 

6-10 Day Temperature Probability Outlook Map

 

6-10 Day Temperature Probability Outlook

In this map, shaded areas show where average temperature has an increased chance of being warmer or cooler than usual. The darker the shading, the greater the chance for the indicated condition. White areas have equal chances for average temperatures that are below, near, or above the long-term average for the month.

Learn More

 

8-14 Day Temperature Probability Outlook Map

 

8-14 Day Temperature Probability Outlook

In this map, shaded areas show where average temperature has an increased chance of being warmer or cooler than usual. The darker the shading, the greater the chance for the indicated condition. White areas have equal chances for average temperatures that are below, near, or above the long-term average for the month.

Learn More

 

One Month Temperature Probability Outlook

 

One Month Temperature Probability Outlook

In this map, shaded areas show where average temperature has an increased chance of being warmer or cooler than usual. The darker the shading, the greater the chance for the indicated condition. White areas have equal chances for average temperatures that are below, near, or above the long-term average for the month.

Learn More

 

Three Month Temperature Outlook

 

Three Month Temperature Outlook

In this map, shaded areas show where average temperature has an increased chance of being warmer or cooler than usual. The darker the shading, the greater the chance for the indicated condition. White areas have equal chances for average temperatures that are below, near, or above the long-term average for the month.

Learn More

 

Three Month Temperature Outlook

 

Weeks 3-4 Experimental Outlook Temperature Probability

In this experimental map, shaded areas show where average temperature has an increased chance of being warmer or cooler than usual. The darker the shading, the greater the chance for the indicated condition. White areas have equal chances for average temperatures that are below, near, or above the long-term average for the month.

Learn More

Current Heat Index Outlook

  • 8-14 Day Over 95°F
  • 8-14 Day Over 90°F for 2 Days
 

8-14 Day Over 95°F

 

8-14 Day Over 95°F

This map shows the probability that the Average Heat Index (which takes into consideration temperature and humidity) will exceed a given value over for at least 2 days in the forecast window.

 

8-14 Day Over 90°F for 2 Days

 

8-14 Day Over 90°F for 2 Days

This map shows the probability that the Average Heat Index (which takes into consideration temperature and humidity) will exceed a given value over for at least 2 days in the forecast window.

Global Tropical Hazards at Weeks 1 & 2

 

8-14 Day over 95°F

 

8-14 Day Over 95°F

This map shows global tropical hazards predicted by NOAA for the upcoming two week period. Orange and blue coloring indicates the level of confidence that above or below normal temperatures, respectively, will develop in the forecast window.

Learn More

 

 

 

UNDERSTANDING THE HEALTH RISK OF EXTREME HEAT

 

Health Outcomes

Exposure to extreme heat can have many direct effects on human health (heat stroke, reduced labor productivity), as well as indirect effects (promoting air pollution and increasing asthma attacks, overloading power grids requiring rolling blackouts). Negative health outcomes occur if an individual is exposed to the hazard and has not sufficiently adapted to reduce sensitivity.


Sensitivity

Sensitivity

Inherent characteristics of a person that make them disproportionately affected by heat, such as preexisting conditions, age, or occupation. To understand how to protect these groups, see Populations of Concern.

 

Adaptability

Adaptability

The ability of a person to take measures to reduce exposure and sensitivity - for example, avoiding outdoor activities during the day or wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) that is designed to mitigate heat buildup. When exposure is not preventable, adaptability can help reduce the impact of heat.

 

Exposure

Exposure

The extent to which an individual is exposed to extreme heat. Going outside on a hot, humid day and working in direct sunlight constitutes high exposure, while reducing exposure includes avoidance of these activities. Sometimes exposure is not preventable.

Climate conditions

Climate conditions

Climate conditions that create a heat hazard include direct sunlight, low winds, high humidity, and high temperatures. When these conditions exist, a heat hazard is created.

 

 

 

AT-RISK GROUPS

Higher summertime temperatures are linked to an increased risk of illnesses and death, particularly among certain groups. Select a group below to learn more.

 

Children

Read More

Emergency Responders

Read More

Older Adults

Read More

Outdoor Workers

Read More

Athletes

Read More

Pets

Read More

 

 

 

 

 

HEAT WARNINGS IN YOUR AREA

View heat warnings in your area by state

 

 

 

STAYING SAFE DURING A HEAT WAVE

 

Key Safety Tips

  • Drink plenty of water; even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
  • Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power during periods of extreme heat. Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
  • Check the weather/listen to NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).

 

 

Safety Tips If You Have To Go Outside

  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Protect face and head by wearing sunblock and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.

Additional Safety Tips

  • Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities. Circulating air can cool the body by increasing the perspiration rate of evaporation.
  • Download the FEMA App for heat advisories and safety tips.
  • Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).

Safety Tips Before Extreme Heat Arrives

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Know those in your neighborhood who are older, young, sick or overweight. They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help.
  • Be aware that people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than are people living in rural areas.
  • Get trained in first aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies.

Tips to Prepare Your Home

  • Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.
  • Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
  • Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)
  • Keep storm windows up all year.

Heat Related Terms

Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an extreme heat hazard:

  • Heat Wave - Prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity.
  • Heat Index - A number in degrees Fahrenheit (F) that tells how hot it feels when relative humidity is added to the air temperature. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15 degrees.
  • Heat Cramps - Muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are often the first signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.
  • Heat Exhaustion - Typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victim's condition will worsen. Body temperature will keep rising and the victim may suffer heat stroke.
  • Heat Stroke - A life-threatening condition. The victim's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly.
  • Sun Stroke - Another term for heat stroke.
  • Excessive Heat Watch - Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours.
  • Excessive Heat Warning - Heat Index values are forecast to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least 2 days (daytime highs=105-110° Fahrenheit).
  • Heat Advisory - Heat Index values are forecast to meet locally defined advisory criteria for 1 to 2 days (daytime highs=100-105° Fahrenheit).

 

NIHHIS is made possible by our participating agencies.

ASPR


CDC


EPA

FEMA


Department of Agriculture Forest Service


NIOSH

NOAA


OSHA


SAMHSA

 

NIHHIS Headquarters

Address: 1315 East-West Hwy, Suite 1100
Silver Spring, MD 20910

About Us

NIHHIS is an integrated information system that builds understanding of the problem of extreme heat, defines demand for climate services that enhance societal resilience, develops science-based products and services from a sustained climate science research program, and improves capacity, communication, and societal understanding of the problem in order to reduce morbidity and mortality due to extreme heat.  NIHHIS is a jointly developed system by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Back To Top