San Francisco selected for national heat mapping project

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California Construction News staff writer

San Francisco has been selected as one of 14 U.S. cities to participate in a national Urban Heat Watch project created to better understand the relationship between climate change, extreme temperatures, public health and the built environment. The project is now seeking 50 volunteers, in an effort to identify urban heat islands by attaching heat sensors to their vehicles.

Urban Heat Watch, sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), will allow the San Francisco to measure how temperatures vary from neighborhood to neighborhood – an important first step to addressing health inequities related to extreme heat events. After attaching heat sensors, volunteers will be asked to drive their vehicles along pre-determined routes across the city to collect temperature and humidity data that will inform urban heat island maps, like the ones shown here.

City officials, public health experts, climate specialists, and community activists will use these maps to understand and measure heat-related impacts at a neighborhood-by-neighborhood level and advocate for appropriate resources to reduce those impacts

“We know that the conditions of extreme heat and poor air quality caused by climate change can have detrimental health impacts and exacerbate health inequities among communities of color and among medically vulnerable individuals,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, director of health.

“There are many social and health factors that cause these inequities and so this project is important in ground-truthing where communities are at higher health risk, so we can use this data to consider ways to best support them.”

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