Texas Heat-Mapping Project is Largest Ever
Friday, July 24, 2020
HOUSTON - As climate change relentlessly drives up summer temperatures, the city of Houston and Harris County will learn their hottest spots next month with aid from local residents.
A heat-mapping project is designed to help communities reshape themselves with the goal of cooling off urban environments.
Jaime González - Houston Healthy Cities program director with The Nature Conservancy in Texas - says the project, which is rolling out in partnership with Lowe's and Shell, will identify locations where mitigation such as tree canopies and green rooftops make sense.
"Urban heat is kind of a force-multiplier for things that we don't want to see happen for human populations," says González. "And we know that extra heat also affects wildlife and their ability to reproduce, so we're starting to see impacts on those wildlife populations as well. "
Summer temperatures typically hit their peak in Houston around August 7, and that's when roughly 80 community members equipped with specially designed thermal sensors attached to cars or bicycles will help measure and map urban heat.
Houston temperatures are rising not only during the day but also at night, and Jessica Abbinett - climate program coordinator with the Harris County Public Health Department - says minorities are most likely to live in heat islands that can contribute to death.
"Historically in the U.S, extreme heat has been the leading cause of weather-related deaths," says Abbinett. "And then here in Texas we have the highest number of pediatric heat-stroke deaths from children being left in hot vehicles."
Texas is one of three states with the highest heat-related deaths - behind Arizona and ahead of California. Meredith Jennings, a postdoctoral research scientist with the Houston Advanced Research Center, is encouraged that people in Houston recognize the risks of extreme heat and are eager to find solutions.
"Houstonians know that it's hot," says Jennings. "This is part of living here. I think having so many people wanting to participate to actually help us make measurements on temperature and humidity is really exciting."
Information from the August 7 Houston and Harris County heat-mapping campaign will complement projects in 12 other cities across the country this summer.
get more stories like this via email
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Succession is an inevitable process for Ohio farmers, and it can also be an opportunity to re-imagine the land. Vicki Harder-…
HELENA, Mont. -- To honor the Biden administration's steps toward greater ties with tribal nations, conservation groups are calling on it to list the …
RICHMOND, Va. -- In central Virginia, permanent access to land is one of the biggest barriers to farming. A new land-trust model aims to secure both …
BOSTON -- This holiday season, consumer advocates are urging Commonwealth residents to consider giving gifts that don't require purchasing anything…
AUSTIN, Texas -- Supply chain delays have some holiday shoppers stressed that gifts won't be on store shelves on this "Black Friday," or won't arrive …
DETROIT -- As cold weather moves in, state agencies are working to make sure Michiganders know how to apply for the Michigan Energy Assistance …
NEW YORK -- A team of New York-based filmmakers is producing a documentary about reclaiming Indigenous heritage, told through the experiences of an 18…
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- A new report ranks Maryland as one of the worst states in providing support for young victims of sex trafficking. While Maryland …