Participate in community heat mapping this summer!

April 20, 2022
  |   36 Comments

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Update: Heat Mapping On Sunday, August 7th Is A Go!

Montgomery County’s Urban Heat Mapping Campaign is taking place next Sunday, August 7th. On Campaign Day, “street scientist” volunteers will drive around the county to collect data to determine urban heat islands. We will have 4 meeting checkpoints that will be staffed from  6-7 AM; 2- 3 PM; and 7- 8 PM where community members are welcome to stop by to learn more about the program, heat health, and urban heat islands in Montgomery County. We will have handouts to bring home on county heat resilience programs, handheld sensors to take surface temperature readings, and organizers to learn more from you on how heat impacts your wellbeing and possible solutions you would like to see!

The following locations throughout the County will serve as central meeting points:
Falls Road Local Park, 12600 Falls Rd, Potomac, MD 20854
Germantown Town Center Park, 19840 Century Blvd, Germantown, MD 20874
White Oak Community Recreation Center, 1700 April Ln, Silver Spring, MD 20904
Acorn Urban Park, 8060 Newell St. Silver Spring, MD 20910

Thank you volunteers!
This community heat mapping wouldn’t be possible without our county’s volunteer Street Scientists!

Join us at 2PM on campaign day at Acorn Urban Park for a thank you event featuring representatives from NOAA, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Montgomery County’s Heat Watch organizing team, including:

  • Volunteer “street scientists,” residents of Montgomery County
  • Ken Graham, Director of NOAA’s National Weather Service
  • Gretchen Goldman, Assistant Director for Environmental Science, Engineering, Policy, and Justice at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Adriana Hochberg, Acting Director of  Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection and Climate Change Officer
  • Wendy Howard, Executive Director of One Montgomery Green

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Feeling the heat in Montgomery County? Take action by participating in community heat mapping this summer!

This summer, Montgomery County is doing a community heat-mapping project that will bring together local organizations and volunteers to produce heat maps and generate creative and collaborative solutions for extreme heat in our area. Montgomery County will be one of 16 jurisdictions globally that will collaborate with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and community scientists to map heat inequities.

Urban Heat Islands are areas that can be up to 20 degrees hotter than nearby neighborhoods due to buildings, pavement, and other parts of urban environments amplifying high temperatures.

Extreme heat kills more Americans than any other weather event, but not everyone’s risk is the same. Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by extreme heat, and these local maps will help us identify where we can take action to protect vulnerable neighborhoods both now and in the future.

Registration is now closed.

Where do you feel the heat?

Which areas in the community do you feel are important with respect to heat, such as parks, bus stops, and schools? What are some areas where you recognize the heat difference in the county, for example, parking lots or streets you avoid? Mark them on the map below.

Click the plus symbol on the map below to add your location pin to the map. Click on an existing pin on the map below and press the “thumbs up” button to indicate you agree it is a location of concern. You can add areas by name (for example, Beall Elementary School) or by dragging a pin to a point on the map to highlight an unnamed parking lot, bus stop, or intersection.

Made with Padlet

 

Become a Street Scientist:

  • Montgomery County is seeking volunteer street scientists to collect data about our region’s hottest and coolest places during an upcoming heatwave this summer.
  • During the one-day heat mapping campaign, data collected by volunteers will be used to develop temperature and heat index maps of the region (see Seattle example) and help address heat-related vulnerabilities across the region. 
  • On a designated day in early August, you’ll collect thousands of temperatures and
    humidity measurements over three one-hour periods as a driver or navigator in your neighborhood
  • Information on participant stipends and reimbursement will be discussed further with volunteers.

What will street scientists do?

Volunteers are needed to drive along predetermined routes in your area over three separate one-hour periods during a hot day in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Volunteers will use a simple data-collection device attached to the vehicle to measure surrounding temperature and humidity. You can also volunteer as a navigator and help direct drivers’ turns along their route. 

Who is eligible to volunteer?

Anyone is eligible to sign up below to help in the project as there are multiple roles needed from driver, navigator, and neighborhood organizer. Drivers will need a valid driver’s license, auto insurance, and access to a vehicle. 

What is the role of a neighborhood organizer?

The volunteer role of a neighborhood organizer is someone that will engage their hyper-local community to understand and participate in the mapping project. The role is flexible and a great opportunity to engage if you aren’t available to be a driver or would like to be more involved in the project. 

On what day will the heat mapping campaign occur?

That will depend on the weather forecast. Heat mapping is best done on a hot temperature and clear-skied day. Using historical weather patterns and support from the National Weather Service, the target campaign date for Montgomery County is a weekend in the first two weeks of August. While weather changes, The county will confirm this selected campaign date a few weeks prior as forecasts become more reliable. 

Registration

Please note that signing up does not commit you to the project; instead, the process will begin by building out a roster of potential volunteers and will reach out to you to discuss your participation. 

 

Fill out my online form.



36 comments on "Participate in community heat mapping this summer!"

  1. N. P. says:

    I signed my grandson up to work on this as a sSTEM community project. I will support all efforts of his participation.

    1. laurasivels says:

      Thank you for your interest and participation!

  2. James D Werner says:

    Is it possible to participate using bicycle so we don’t contribute to GHG emissions while trying study their effects? There is a whiff of irony in the air about this project.

    1. Mike G Alonzo says:

      I have a setup like the one used here https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.1817561116 parked in Silver Spring. Happy to let people ride. It doesn’t collect humidity though.

    2. laurasivels says:

      James, I understand the concern and we will work diligently to mitigate the impact of this data collection initiative. We did inquire about using bicycles and it was our intention to collect as much data via bicycle, but the data collection team at NOAA and CAPA strategies let us know that the bicycle data would not be reliable for our purposes. We will be working hard with volunteers to use electric vehicles to collect the data as much as possible and we will only need 20 vehicles on the road to collect the data.

      Thank you for expressing your concern and I would be happy to chat further about it.
      Laura Sivels, Climate Engagement Program Manager
      laura.sivels@MontgomeryConutyMD.gov

  3. Kit Gage says:

    Preferable if possible for people to use electric vehicles (or as noted, bicycles) to do the collecting.

    1. laurasivels says:

      Thanks for your comment Kit. We have talked in-depth with the data collection team at NOAA and CAPA Strategies and unfortunately the data collected by bicycles would not be reliable for our purposes. We will be working with volunteers to use electric vehicles for the whole initiative if possible.

  4. Teresa Buescher says:

    I volunteered to be a driver . I have a Tesla

    1. laurasivels says:

      Thank you Teresa! We will be following up within the next few weeks to volunteers with more information and inquiring about availability.

  5. Will you/ we be checking for the truly hottest surfaces around – synthetic plastic and rubber (as synthetic turf aka fake grass) sports fields and rubber surfaced playgrounds at schools and parks? They are hotter than asphalt, as a local news team set out a few summers ago looking for the hottest place in the county in a heat wave- they found a rubber park playground to be the very hottest with a surface temperature upwards of 170 deg F.

    1. laurasivels says:

      Thanks for your insight Kathleen! This initiative will be measuring air temperature rather than surface temperature so we can understand how the heat feels to the community, taking temperature and humidity into account. We are working with local partners, including One Montgomery Green, in an effort to work on some surface level measuring with handheld sensors as well. Feel free to email me at laura.sivels@montgomerycountymd.gov to discuss how we could combine the efforts further.

  6. Roy Faiman says:

    Aren’t urban heat sinks and islands also visible to remote sensing satellites measuring surface temperature longitudinally?

    1. laurasivels says:

      Hi Roy! You’re absolutely correct. We do know a good deal about the urban heat in the community from remote sensing satellites. This initiative will also study air temperature and humidity and the results will incorporate local data and satellite imagery. Here’s an example summary report from the campaign in Seattle & King County with the methodology: https://your.kingcounty.gov/dnrp/climate/documents/2021-summary-report-heat-watch-seattle-king-county.pdf

  7. Jennifer Moore says:

    Can high school student 15 year and up, if so will they be able to gain SSL hours? Does NOAA offers internships in technology for the summer

    1. laurasivels says:

      Hi Jennifer, thanks for expressing interest in volunteering! I am looking into whether we can provide SSL hours and will get back to you soon. Also, we are not affiliated with NOAA, so unfortunately cannot provide guidance on their internships. It looks like they have a page dedicated to student opportunities (https://www.noaa.gov/education/opportunities/students)

      Thanks,
      Laura Sivels
      laura.sivels@montgomerycountymd.gov

      1. laurasivels says:

        Good news! We will be able to award SSL hours for students that serve as neighborhood organizers or navigators. We will be emailing volunteers in the coming weeks and will provide more information.

        1. Claire Marsden says:

          I also have 3 middle-schoolers interested in this for SSL. I have sent a volunteer request and I will have the other do so as well!

  8. Alemayehu says:

    I am confident that MC will achieve this mapping job. There are plots those can be identified as heat islands.
    Do we report those plots in order to include them in the mapping process?

    1. laurasivels says:

      Thank you Alemayehu, we would appreciate your insight in areas in the county you suspect would be heat islands. You can include them on the “Where do you feel the heat?” map above, or email any of your thoughts to me at laura.sivels@montgomerycountymd.gov

  9. Tiffany Novak says:

    Are SSL hours available to rising middle schoolers if they participate with a volunteer parent?

    1. laurasivels says:

      Hi Tiffany, thanks for expressing interest in volunteering! I am looking into whether we can provide SSL hours and will get back to you soon.

      Thanks,
      Laura Sivels
      laura.sivels@montgomerycountymd.gov

    2. laurasivels says:

      Good news! We will be able to award SSL hours for students that serve as neighborhood organizers or navigators. We will be emailing volunteers in the coming weeks and will provide more information.

  10. Javier says:

    Hi,

    I want to know, if people from overseas can take part.

    1. laurasivels says:

      Hi Javier, unfortunately this will be an in-person initiative in Montgomery County, MD. However, I urge you to keep an eye on CAPA Strategies and NOAA’s Heat Watch campaign partnership as it is a global effort. To keep up with the summer 2022 campaigns and learn about future campaigns, subscribe to the Heat Beat Newsletter here (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSebcCety8QegGB5iMm2_vsOkVLqh71yVMNnIANprty_9U07Pg/viewform), check out the National Integrated Heat Health Information System website (https://nihhis.cpo.noaa.gov/), or follow #UrbanHeatMaps2022 on social media.

  11. Keely Maxwell says:

    This is great! Happy to participate! Also same question as above SSL hours. (Hi Laura 🙂

    1. laurasivels says:

      Hi Keely, thanks for expressing interest in volunteering! I am looking into whether we can provide SSL hours and will get back to you soon.

      Thanks,
      Laura Sivels
      laura.sivels@montgomerycountymd.gov

    2. laurasivels says:

      Good news! We will be able to award SSL hours for students that serve as neighborhood organizers or navigators. We will be emailing volunteers in the coming weeks and will provide more information.

  12. Karen Metchis says:

    If I am a driver, am I driving more people than just me and my navigator?

  13. Karen Metchis says:

    If I am a driver, am I driving more people than just me and my navigator? Also, why isn’t downtown Bethesda on the list? It is full of concrete and buildings and few trees.

    1. laurasivels says:

      Thanks for your question Karen! You will only be driving your navigator (unless you indicated you would be comfortable having a ride-along with a member of the media, then that could be a possibility as well). Downtown Bethesda will be included in the mapping, we are able to map 200/~500sq miles of the county so we can’t map all of it, but will include Bethesda, Silver Spring, Fairland, Olney, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Germantown, and Clarksburg. The map above is crowd-sourced responses of where members of the community “feel the heat” and areas that they feel are hotter than others, which we used to make the decisions on the routes for the mapping.

      Thanks for your great questions.
      Laura Sivels
      laura.sivels@montgomerycountymd.gov

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