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


Event date: 11/10/2020 Export event

Learn How to Map the Urban Heat Island Effect with ARSET this November

Authors: Jonathan O’Brien, Sean Mccartney and Ana Prados (NASA)

Heat stress accounts for more than 600 deaths in the US annually (CDC). This problem is especially prevalent in urbanized areas. Why do more people per capita die of heat in the city than outside of it? There is an artificial weather phenomenon you may have heard about called the “urban heat island” effect. In essence, the effect is just as the name implies, an island of heat in urban areas. This is due to the impervious surfaces (e.g. paved roads, parking lots, and roofs) that cities are comprised of. These surfaces are especially good at trapping heat, but not so good at letting it go. Because of the way these surfaces trap heat, the ambient temperature in the city will often be higher than the surrounding areas, with the greatest difference in temperature occurring at night. This is important to note, since heat stroke susceptibility is dependent not just on the ambient temperature, but also a person’s ability to cool down effectively at night so their body can recover. This is one of the reasons the urban heat island effect is so dangerous.

An interesting fact is that satellites can observe the urban heat island from space by estimating the land surface temperature (LST). Land surface temperature is not the same as ambient temperature, and variations occur depending on the time of observation, but it is frequently used as a proxy for ambient temperature. If the surface of a stove is hot, it’s a good bet that whatever is sitting on top of it is pretty toasty too. To further refine the analysis, field temperature readings are usually collected by boots on the ground to validate and supplement the data collected from space. With these satellite observations we can create a temperature map of the city and the surrounding areas. These maps can be especially useful when paired with other data such as surface type or land cover and human data such as socioeconomic, demographic, and health variables. Through these types of analyses we can gain a holistic view of the heat situation on the ground and how it has changed over time.


With increasing urbanization and rising temperatures, this topic will only become more important in the future. If you are interested in getting in on the action and learning how to map out the urban heat island in your city, join the Applied Remote Sensing Training (ARSET) program for a three-part online training beginning on November 10. During the first session of this training series you will learn how to estimate LST in Google Earth Engine using Earth observations from Landsat. You will also be presented with background information on urban heat islands (UHI) and have a chance to familiarize yourself with satellites and sensors that can be used to map them. The second session of this series will introduce you to UHI case studies and go over methods for integrating in situ observations with satellite imagery for select US cities. The third and final session will cover long term mitigation strategies and present a case study of UHI and land cover in Huntsville, Alabama.

Sessions include guest speakers from NASA, USGS, NOAA, and Portland State University. There is no cost to participants and no prior experience is required. For more information or to register, visit


NOAA 2016 summer outlook: Where are the highest chances for a hot summer in the U.S.? 24 May 2016

NOAA 2016 summer outlook: Where are the highest chances for a hot summer in the U.S.?

Most of the continental United States is facing elevated chances of well above average summer temperatures, according to the latest outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

April 2016 Hottest on Record 23 May 2016

April 2016 Hottest on Record

April 2016 was the warmest April on record for the globe, making it the 12th consecutive month that earth has recorded its warmest respective month on record. NOAA's global State of the Climate report released Wednesday found April's temperature over the Earth's surface was 1.10 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average. This crushed the previous warmest April set in 2010 by 0.28 degrees Celsius.

Michelle Hawkins of NOAA's National Weather Service shares tips for staying safe in extreme heat with The Weather Channel as the FEMA PrepareAthon's Extreme Heat Week begins 22 May 2016

Michelle Hawkins of NOAA's National Weather Service shares tips for staying safe in extreme heat with The Weather Channel as the FEMA PrepareAthon's Extreme Heat Week begins

Michelle Hawkins of NOAA's National Weather Service shares tips for staying safe in extreme heat with The Weather Channel as the FEMA PrepareAthon's Extreme Heat Week begins. She discusses heat watches, warning, and advisories as well as tips for protecting vulnerable populations (including National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Where's Baby campaign) and signs and symptoms of heat stress. For more information on extreme heat and tools and trainings to reduce risk, visit the National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) at

Report Release - Extreme Heat: Hot Cities, 2015 Symposium 26 April 2016

Report Release - Extreme Heat: Hot Cities, 2015 Symposium

AIA Design for Risk and Reconstruction (DfRR)

On November 12, 2015, DfRR brought together an amazing group of speakers representing the broadest cross-section of professions involved in climate change to highlight both the short and long-term impacts of extreme heat and the risks we take if we fail to act. The committee organized panels and case studies in terms of scale, from the most global challenges to the most local opportunities. Conflicting and contrasting solutions were welcome, making for an oftentimes lively debate. The symposium also illuminated the unresolved and the yet-to-be-determined.

USGCRP Climate and Health Assessment Released 4 April 2016

USGCRP Climate and Health Assessment Released

On April 4, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released the inaugural Climate Change and Human Health Assessment: 'Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment." This scientific assessment was developed by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), as part of the ongoing efforts of USGCRP’s sustained National Climate Assessment process and as called for under the President’s Climate Action Plan.



«July 2022»

Upcoming events iCalendar export

NIHHIS is made possible by our participating agencies.





Department of Agriculture Forest Service






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