2023 Heat Mapping Campaign
Thank you to our volunteer community scientists!
On August 12, more than 200 volunteer Community Scientists traveled routes throughout Johnson and Wyandotte County, KS to identify heat islands in the two counties as part of the 2023 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Urban Heat Mapping Campaign.
Check back this fall for more information about the results from Campaign Day.
"It's critical for city and county leaders to understand how environmental factors impact our residents differently, depending on where they live. We'll be glad to get the results of this study for help in planning for a more resilient future." -Mayor Sollie Flora, Mission
What are heat islands?
Heat islands are hotspots in our neighborhoods where temperatures are higher due to a lack of tree cover, extensive pavement or concrete and other factors. These areas can be up to 20°F hotter than nearby spots right down the street.
Identifying these areas helps our community and local decision-makers take action to reduce the health impacts of extreme heat, which often disproportionately impact some of the most vulnerable members of our communities: infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight and people who are ill or on certain medications. Additionally, extreme heat can have severe consequences for our community members who work outside.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we conducting the campaign?
Urban areas are especially prone to high temperatures due to a combination of hard surfaces (buildings, roads), limited vegetation and heat-producing factors like car use and industrial activity. This problem, known as the urban heat island effect, can increase issues for human health, infrastructure and quality of life.
Understanding how temperatures vary based on qualities of the natural and built landscape can inform how we reduce the impacts of rising summer temperatures in our communities.
How are data collected?
Data are collected using a sensor mounted to the passenger side of a car (note: the sensor is held in place by the window; nothing is permanently affixed to the car). The sensor records the ambient temperature, humidity and GPS location every second as volunteers transport the device through pre-planned routes.
What will the counties do with the data?
The final product of the Kansas Community Heat Watch campaign is a set of high-resolution air temperature and humidity data, area-wide heat maps and a report by CAPA Strategies that provides a detailed analysis of heat distribution in the morning, afternoon and evening. The maps are produced by combining satellite imagery and air temperature and humidity readings collected by our volunteers on campaign day.
The maps will help our community and local decision-makers take actions to reduce the health impacts of extreme heat, which often disproportionately impact some of the most vulnerable members of our communities: infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight and people who are ill or on certain medications. Additionally, extreme heat can have severe consequences for our community members who work outside.
For more information about the mapping process, view this publication.
Visit NOAA's website for more information about the project.
Thank you to our community partners
Thank you to the community-based organizations who have helped us plan and execute the heat mapping campaign. We appreciate all their hard work and dedication to the project and their commitment to making Johnson County a healthier and more equitable place for all who live, work and play in our community.
- Bridging the Gap
- CleanAirNow KC
- City of Overland Park
- Groundwork Northeast Revitalization Group
- Heart to Heart International
- Johnson County AIMS
- Johnson County K-State Research and Extension
- Johnson County Libraries
- Johnson County Museum (JCPRD)
- Mid-America Regional Council
- NWS Forecast Office Kansas City, MO
- Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS