Why map the heat in Nashville?

In the United States, heat waves harm more people than all other weather hazards combined and tend to disproportionately affect communities of color. In Nashville, climate change is expected to worsen extreme heat more than any other weather threat. By measuring temperatures in thousands of locations across the city, this heat mapping effort will reveal which areas of the city are the hottest and why these temperature patterns are occurring. Additionally, knowledge of heat distribution will help inform heat mitigation efforts to avoid negative impacts on natural and built environments and human health, while addressing the inequitable distribution of heat risk. urban heat and vulnerability.

How are heat islands created?

Cities have lots of buildings, concrete, and anthropogenic heat, which can help trap heat near the city surface. This creates an urban heat island effect, where cities tend to be warmer than surrounding rural areas which have more green space and trees. The effect intensifies as cities grow and in areas with low vegetation.

Even within the city, there can be gaps between areas with more densely populated buildings, more concrete, and varying access to heat mitigation methods, such as increased vegetation. This mapping effort aims to identify and understand these variations across Nashville.

Who is involved in the Nashville Heat Island Mapping Project?

This project is a collaboration between resident volunteers in Central Tennessee and a number of Nashville area stakeholders! Project partners include the Mayor’s Office, Metro Department of Public Health, Tennessee Climate Bureau, Tennessee Department of Health, Vanderbilt University, Middle Tennessee State University, the Fisk University, Tennessee State University, Cumberland River Compact, Urban Green Lab and Adventure Science Center. .

What will the volunteers do?

Volunteers will take pre-determined routes in Nashville over three separate one-hour periods (6 a.m.-7 a.m., 3-4 p.m. and 7-8 p.m.) on a hot day in early to mid-August. Data will be collected using a specially designed sensor that attaches to volunteers’ cars and collects temperature and humidity along the route they travel. This campaign will also use volunteers to serve as navigators to help direct drivers’ turns along their route.

The collected temperature and humidity data will be used to develop temperature and heat index maps of Nashville and help address heat-related vulnerabilities in the region.

When will heat mapping take place?

The exact date of the mapping has not been fixed as it depends on the weather forecast. The ideal conditions for heat mapping are warm, clear days. The project team will work with the Nashville National Weather Service forecast office to determine the exact date and volunteers will be notified 7-10 days in advance. The campaign’s target window is early to mid-August.

As the exact date is not known at this time, the project team is compiling a list of ‘on call’ volunteers. Participation will be confirmed approximately 7-10 days prior to the mapping date.

Are there any requirements as a volunteer?

All volunteers will be required to sign a liability waiver. Drivers will need a valid driver’s license, access to a vehicle and car insurance. About three hours of data collection are planned on the day of the campaign.

Prior to data collection, volunteers will be invited to participate in a virtual volunteer orientation, which includes reviewing a video, checking knowledge, and participating in a short online training session and follow-up discussion. Based on previous campaigns, volunteers spend an average of 4.5 hours over three weeks, mostly on the day of the campaign.

How is the urban heat island mapping project funded?

The Climate Program Office (CPO) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the organization National Integrated Heat and Health Information System (NIHHIS), and CAPA Strategies, LLC launched the Heat Watch community campaigns in cities and counties across the United States in 2017. Nashville is one of 14 communities across the United States which will be part of the Summer 2022 Urban Heat Island Mapping Cohort. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration funded CAPA Strategies LLC to provide scientific support for community-based campaigns to map urban heat islands.

Interested in volunteering?

Residents interested in participating should complete this Volunteer Interest Form.


Contact Kendra Abkowitz, Director of Sustainability and Resilience, at [email protected].