UNMC and community volunteers to map thermal inequalities in Omaha this summer
Extreme heat kills more Americans than any other weather event, but everyone’s risk is not the same. This summer, the University of Nebraska Medical Center and community scientists will map the hottest parts of Omaha.
To map urban heat islands — areas that can be up to 20 degrees hotter than neighboring neighborhoods — and collect the data needed to protect disproportionately affected communities, UNMC’s College of Public Health, the Office of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Program, the National Integrated Interagency Heat and Health Information System, and CAPA Strategies LLC are launching new community-led campaigns in Omaha this summer. Omaha is one of 14 U.S. cities participating in the 2022 Heat Mapping Campaign this summer.
Some neighborhoods can be much hotter than other parts of the same city, and – in part due to historic segregation efforts, home loan denials and other policies, designed to keep people of color away from some communities – these hotspots are often home to poorer communities of color. UNMC will conduct an “Urban Heat Island” mapping campaign in the summer of 2022 to compare heat distribution within the historically separate boundaries of Omaha’s unmarked neighborhoods.
Heat campaign mapping will use the framing of historically delineated areas in Omaha to examine the impact of the urban heat island. This summer, UNMC plans to recruit volunteers to drive and bike around the city of Omaha with weather sensors.
Using heat sensors mounted on their own cars or bikes, the volunteers, led by UNMC, will cycle through their neighborhoods in the morning, afternoon and evening on a warm, calm and rainless day this summer. . Sensors record the temperature, humidity, time and location of volunteers every second.
Cities in previous campaigns have used their heat island maps to develop heat action plans, add cooling stations to bus shelters, educate residents and policymakers, and inform new research.
To stay informed and involved in the Omaha Summer 2022 campaigns, subscribe to the Heat Beat newsletter, check out the University of Nebraska Medical Center website, or follow #OmahaUrbanHeatMaps2022 on social media. UNMC College of Public Health: https://www.facebook.com/cophunmc; https://twitter.com/UNMCCOPH; Facebook UNMC https://www.facebook.com/unmcedu; UNMC Twitter https://twitter.com/unmc; UNMC Instagram https://www.instagram.com/iamunmc/;
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