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Mayor's office aims to measure heat distribution in Nashville

sunshine nashville
Posted at 7:29 AM, Apr 27, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It may be hard to recall on crisp mornings like Nashville sees in the spring, but it is well known every summer we are hit with a sweltering heatwave. Mayor John Cooper wants to find out how that heat is affecting people across the city.

If this is given the green light by Metro Council, volunteers will be driving around the city in the summer with sensors to record temperatures and humidity three times a day. This process is called heat mapping.

"Extreme heat is a real threat to the health and wellbeing of our city and has a significant impact on our vulnerable populations in particular,” Mayor Cooper said in a statement.

He said the data can be used to make future policies, programs and actions addressing the effects of heat across the city.

The mayor's office said in the U.S., heat waves harm more people than all other meteorological hazards combined.

This heat mapping project would point to which areas of the city are the warmest and help figure out why. It is a collaboration between different Metro Nashville departments, local nonprofits, university students as well as faculty and community members.

The mayor's office said knowledge of heat distribution will make an impact on heat mitigation efforts for more than just city officials but also nonprofits, urban foresters and researchers.

Experts said things like a lot of concrete, little vegetation, and densely packed buildings can make neighborhoods warmer.

"This project will help us better understand the areas within the city that are warmest, the characteristics that keep our cities cooler, and how to effectively incorporate heat-mitigating options, such as planting more trees, throughout Nashville,” said Dr. Alisa Hass with Middle Tennessee State University.

Nashville is one of 14 spots across the country that are a part of the effort to map these urban heat islands.

If interested in volunteering, you can email Kendra Abkowitz the Chief Sustainability and Resilience Officer at Metro Nashville / Davidson County at Kendra.Abkowitz@nashville.gov.