Video Citizen Science Climate change Severe Weather Symposium Technology

Heat Watch: A National Community-based Heat Mapping Campaign

  • By AMS Staff
  • Jul 31, 2023

Over the past four summers, community scientists in over 50 US cities have set out to measure the distribution of ambient heat across urban environments as part of a national campaign ("Heat Watch") led by CAPA Strategies and NOAA's National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS). The highly engaging program has involved hundreds of community participants as data collectors with simple-to-use equipment, engaging training material, and meaningful input to study design and interpretation of the resulting ambient heat maps. Gaining an element of civic legitimacy through the participation of local communities, the generated datasets are used by municipal planners, health departments, academic researchers, and others to identify heat vulnerabilities and rapidly advance local heat resilience efforts. 

This presentation from the 2022 AMS Weather Band Community and Citizen Science Symposium, led by Heat Watch Program Manager, Joey Williams, highlights the role community members play in gathering this essential information; learning outcomes and other positive effects of community participation; and, how the data are being used in myriad ways across the country. Pending availability, participants and leaders from past campaigns may join to share their experiences with Heat Watch. With many campaign photos, videos, FLIR camera images, and social media posts to share, the joy and power of community science is sure to be highlighted as well. (See our "2020 Yearbook" for reference!

About Joey Williams 

Joey directs operations of the Climate Adaptation Planning Analytics (CAPA) Heat Watch program and assists with organizational growth of CAPA Strategies. He combines his process design skills as a former engineer with his passion for human and environmental health to help the CAPA team advance climate resilience efforts in cities around the US and world. He earned his Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University, where he served as a graduate research assistant in the Sustaining Urban Places Research Lab. In his free time he enjoys backpacking, running, cooking new recipes, and drawing.