Heat Mapping

Bridgewater College student Trevor Brooks is looking for volunteers to help collect data for a heat mapping project named Heat Watch.

“We aim to collect highly detailed near surface air temperature data of different areas around Harrisonburg and Bridgewater. The data collected will relate land use and topography to temperatures, and the projects’ results should have implications in public health, climate change mitigation, equity, social justice, and emergency preparedness. … we are looking for volunteers who would be willing to help us with the collection of data on one day in July (between July 11 and 18). All it would involve would be driving and or navigating a predetermined route.”

“Volunteers will either drive or navigate their assigned route at least once. We need each route driven 3 times, during the periods from 6-7 A.M., 3-4 P.M., and 7-8 P.M. We understand people have busy lives which is why we are asking for many volunteers to fill in scheduling gaps. It is ok if you can only participate in one of those time slots!”

If you are interested in getting involved, please email, text, or call either Trevor Brooks tbrooks [at] eagles.bridgewater.edu ; 443-924-7938 or Dr. Kreps tkreps [at] bridgewater.edu ; 540-209-7938

More about why this project is needed, from the Heat Watch Volunteer Packet

“As the effects of climate change become more and more apparent, we can expect to see extreme weather patterns more frequently. This includes heat waves such as the one that hit the west earlier this summer. Urban areas are highly susceptible to adverse heat waves due to their concentration of man-made materials that are highly effective at absorbing and trapping solar radiation. This causes urban areas to experience a phenomenon called Urban Heat Islands (UHI) which is simply when an urban area is hotter than the surrounding rural areas.

The magnification of summer heat by UHIs can have many adverse effects both for humanity and our surrounding environment. According to the CDC more than 600 people die from excessive heat every year. Excessive heat also is related to a greater demand for energy which can stress local power grids and can even lead to rolling blackouts in some areas. Heat has also been linked to an increase in smog and other pollutants that can be hazardous to human health. Aquatic ecosystems can also be harmed, as temperatures of stormwater runoff warms streams and stressing ecosystems.

There is growing evidence that UHIs have the greatest effect on lower socioeconomic groups and minorities. This is due to the unintentional effects of urban planning. Lower socioeconomic areas tend to have less green space and greater housing density. These factors increase an area’s ability to absorb and trap solar radiation thereby increasing the surface temperatures.

This project aims to map the UHI effect in Harrisonburg and Bridgewater to identify the areas it is most intense. The data collected will end up becoming open source, in the hopes that it inspires future research and can assist city planners and politicians in building a more equal urban life for those less fortunate. This effort is one that is national, being done in 11 other cities partnered with NOAA and Climate Adaptation Planning Analytics (CAPA). With YOUR help we can generate data that will shape the future of Harrisonburg and Bridgewater and create a more just future and resilient community.”

Find even more about this state-wide study from The Virginian-Pilot on June 3rd HERE.

Please note that the approval of this activity for HMN volunteer service credit is pending. (Update: project was approved and is listed in our Better Impact volunteer management system.)

As of June 30, volunteers are still needed!

Adrie Voors, Cohort II, June 2021

The graphic at the top of this post was taken from the Heat Watch volunteer training video HERE.