NOAA is crowdsourcing a national urban heat map

HARC in the News


By Angely Mercado, Grist

Local officials in Harris County, where Houston is located, say that the need for detailed urban heat information is especially acute during the pandemic.

Summers are getting hotter, but the heat is not being suffered equally. The urban heat island effect — a phenomenon in which traditional urban design features attract the sun’s rays, making some cities several degrees hotter than surrounding areas — disproportionately exposes urban residents to dangerous conditions and additional utility costs.

Its effects also hit low-income residents the hardest.

A nationwide heat mapping effort taking place this Friday hopes to provide policymakers and the public with the most detailed information yet on the urban heat island effect in U.S. cities.

The project was organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and involved training 80 volunteer community scientists who will hit the streets on Friday. Armed with atmospheric sensors, they will measure temperatures across 300 square miles in 13 cities including Seattle, Austin, Miami, Cincinnati, and New Orleans.


With summer in full force, extreme heat and humidity pose a health risk for Harris County residents.

Ms. Jessica Abbinett, Harris County Public Health