Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaign

Charlottesville participated in the 2021 NIHHIS-CAPA Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaign, a nationwide citizen-science based effort to collect local data on temperatures and humidity levels across the city. How urban environments and neighborhoods are built affects the amount of heat absorbed and retained, which can increase or reduce the impact of extreme heat events. Increases in extreme heat are one of the top projected impacts Charlottesville will experience from climate change.

Map of 2021 Data Collection Driving Routes2021 Data Collection Campaign is Complete!

Due to a favorably-timed heat wave and availability of ~30 volunteers (data collectors plus backups), Charlottesville's 2021 data collection was successfully completed on August 24, 2021. 

Campaign Results

The collected data has been submitted to CAPA Strategies for processing and was originally expected to have results available around the end of October/beginning of November. Due to the number of communities participating in the 2021 national campaign, the data processing timeline has been extended to mid-December. 

There will be a 90 minute webinar on December 14th (time TBD), hosted by the national campaign organizers, which will feature a few of the current campaign cities to talk about their campaigns, the overall experience, and an overview of the mapping results. The webinar will be moderated by Cooper Martin of the National League of Cities and a CAPA Strategies representative will give an overview of the campaign cycle.  

Updates to share the data results will be announced when available; please sign up for the 'Climate Action' News Flash alerts on the City's Notify Me webpage for future notifications.

Project Aims

This mapping project aims to:

  • Provide insight into heat vulnerabilities in the city and how they impact the urban environment. Learn more about urban heat islands and heat vulnerabilities.
  • Recognize any correlation between land type and temperature using GIS. For example, natural landscapes retain less heat than concrete and asphalt, hence resulting in higher temperatures in urban than rural areas.
  • Gain a general understanding of how temperature varies in the area and identify heat clusterings. Identification of hotspots can inform actions by the community to reduce the harm at those places and target more resources there (ex. trees planting, new energy buildings).
  • Quantify the impact that extreme heat has on the region and local climate.
  • Inform broader implications on public health, environmental protection, and socioeconomic factors.
  • Engage community members in knowing and protecting regional ecosystems.
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