The results of the 2022 Montgomery County “Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaign” show that urban areas of the County experience temperatures up to 10 degrees higher than rural areas. The County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released the results of the campaign in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Climate Adaptation Planning and Analyst (CAPA).
A StoryMap created by DEP provides a comprehensive overview of the campaign. Among its findings was confirmation that communities of color and neighborhoods with a higher proportion of low-income residents experience higher temperatures than other areas in Montgomery County. This is due to a higher concentration of impervious surfaces, such as parking lots, roads and buildings, compared to areas with more green spaces.
The campaign brought together local organizations and volunteers to produce heat maps and generate creative and collaborative solutions for extreme heat in the area. The data and the community feedback will help the County identify areas where it can take action to protect vulnerable populations and build resilience against extreme heat risks.
The StoryMap provides an overview of the campaign’s methodology, results and solutions. The StoryMap highlights include the following:
- Low-income communities and communities of color were found to have higher temperatures than other areas in Montgomery County, indicating that extreme heat is a social justice issue.
- Trees and green spaces play a crucial role in mitigating extreme heat, and the campaign identified areas with low tree canopy coverage that require additional green infrastructure.
- The campaign engaged local residents and organizations in the data collection process, providing an opportunity for community members to actively participate in identifying solutions to extreme heat risks.
“The findings of the 2022 Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaign underscore the importance of community engagement in addressing the effects of climate change,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Members of our community provided feedback on extremely hot areas they were concerned about and then worked with us to measure temperatures throughout the County to identify urban heat islands. By working together, Montgomery County, our partners, and our communities are taking proactive steps to build resilience and protect vulnerable populations from extreme heat.”
The StoryMap includes background information on extreme heat, the campaign day, media attention, response, and solutions. It also details the next steps DEP is taking to mitigate, adapt and build resiliency against extreme heat in the County.
The StoryMap can be viewed at https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/389babe7ce654fdd87701488ae72e8b6.
In addition, CAPA has released a summary report of the campaign’s findings that can be accessed at https://osf.io/pk7uw?view_only=003a354126284c2298ec365424fac4b3.
For more information about Montgomery County’s efforts to address climate change, visit https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DEP/.