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Mapping the urban heat island

Hennepin County receives federal grant to map urban heat island 

Adult and three kids playing soccer on a field with downtown Minneapolis in the backgroundThis summer, Hennepin and Ramsey counties will partner with volunteer community scientists to gather data to better understand urban heat islands. These are urban areas where the temperature can be significantly higher than in nearby rural areas or large green spaces due to more concrete and other impermeable surfaces that radiate heat along with less tree canopy and greenspace to mitigate the heat.

Hennepin and Ramsey counties are one of 14 U.S. communities and four international cities doing this work as part of NOAA’s 2024 Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaign.

How it works

A car with a small heat sensor sticking up vertically from the window driving toward a city and mountainsUsing heat sensors mounted on their cars, volunteer community scientists will traverse their neighborhoods in the morning, afternoon, and evening on one of the hottest days of the year. The sensors will record temperature, humidity, time, and location.

This data, paired with community engagement, analysis, and modeling, will allow communities to develop hyper-local descriptions of where the hottest parts of their neighborhoods. This will inform strategies to reduce the health impacts of extreme heat and provide cooling relief for those living in the hottest areas.

Get involved

The mapping project is planned for Saturday, July 27. The date is subject to change based on weather conditions. 

Fill out the urban heat island mapping volunteer interest form to get updates on the project and how to get involved.

For more information, contact urbanheat@hennepin.us

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