Volunteers map ‘hot spots’ around Oahu

Local News

The Office of Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resiliency (Resilience Office) has completed Oahu’s first Community Heat Mapping Campaign.

Honolulu was one of ten cities selected nationally to partner with NOAA’s Climate Program Office, CAPA Strategies, the Science Museum of Virginia, and the National Integrated Heat Health Information System to conduct a Community Heat Assessment and map “hotspots” in local neighborhoods. The campaign was carried out at no cost to the city.

“This is a project where they’re trying to figure out, you know, the kind of impacts heat has on different communities in Oahu.”

S. Shankar, Volunteer

He was one of 28 volunteers equipped with sensors that automatically record temperature and humidity on August 31. They repeated the routes three times at 6 a.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m., to understand where it heats up the most, and where it cools down the least during the evening hours.

After collecting the data, the heat sensing equipment was returned to partner CAPA Strategies for final analysis. The Resilience Office said the results will be out later this Fall.

They are hoping to find out where neighborhoods are most vulnerable to heat waves and also figure out how to prepare and protect residents for future temperature increases.

“By completing a Community Heat Assessment Honolulu is laying the foundation to address extreme heat events across the island,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “A robust heat analysis can help guide new tree planting initiatives, reflective surface deployment programs, or the implementation of cooling centers. This is data that will spur positive action among our residents and government leaders.” 

The City and County of Honolulu noted that the day volunteers and organizers captured data turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year. According to the National Weather Service, Aug. 31 marked the hottest temperature measured in Honolulu all year and tied the previous record set in 1984 for the hottest temperature ever recorded at 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Climate change is ramping up heat in Hawaii and this summer has been uncomfortably hot,” said Matthew Gonser, project lead for the Resilience Office. “Being out there on our streets on the hottest day of the year reminds us how important it is to quickly reduce carbon pollution across our island.”

To learn more about the City and County Office of Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resiliency, you can visit their website. https://www.resilientoahu.org/.

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