Roanoke's Heat Island Mapping

In August 2020, Roanoke was one of 13 cities in national study of urban heat island effect. The City’s Office of Sustainability partnered with Climate Adaptation Planning Analytics (CAPA) to create a heat island mapping study within the City of Roanoke. In total, four two-person volunteer teams in automobiles and three cyclists covered routes at 6 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. equipped with sensors to record temperatures in various parts of the city. CAPA Strategies analyzed the data and provided the city a report of its urban heat signature, including a map showing the pattern of heat variation and suggested strategies for dealing with the heat (map shown above).

The study also showed a variation in temperature of up to 16 degrees, and frequently the highest temperatures were in the poorest communities. Roanoke in general contains an older housing stock, but poorer parts of a city typically contain more housing that is not updated for modern temperature control and energy efficiency, with some lacking air-conditioning. In addition to heat stroke and heat exhaustion, people living in these areas are at a heightened risk of other diseases being worsened as their bodies cope with extreme heat.

PHOTO CAPTION: Citizen-scientists took to the streets on specially equipped bikes and cars to find out where it’s hottest—and where residents might be most vulnerable to extreme urban heat.

NOAA Climate Explorer 

(place map here)