Volunteers fan out over Boulder to record time, temp and humidity for scientists tracking climate trends nationwide | SummitDaily.com

Volunteers fan out over Boulder to record time, temp and humidity for scientists tracking climate trends nationwide

Data collected by the annual heat mapping project, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, helps communities combat extreme heat, which can have greater impact on economically and socially vulnerable people.

Tatiana Flowers
The Colorado Sun
Volunteer Pat Meyers attaches a heat sensor to the window of Deborah Rylander’s car to collect data on heat and humidity on July 22, 2022. The one-day study was conducted by the city of Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, or NOAA. 18 cities nationwide participated in the heat mapping project.
Olivia Sun/The Colorado Sun

BOULDER — Pat Meyers and Deborah Rylander took a drive around Boulder Friday afternoon. Their cruise in a white Audi, with a heat sensor affixed to a window, was part of one of the largest heat-mapping projects in the U.S.

The project, which required the help of almost a hundred volunteers, was part of an annual project that assesses the hottest and coolest parts of 14 U.S. cities and counties to help plan and prepare for the extreme heat waves scientists have been warning about for years. When Meyers and Rylander drove off, the National Weather Service forecast a high of 97 degrees for the day.

“We’re hoping to show, one, what areas of the city are hottest, and then, we’re also looking at why those areas are hot: Is there a lot of impervious surface? Is there not a lot of tree coverage? Is there not a lot of shading in those areas?” said Adam Hall, a graduate student at the University of Colorado studying urban resilience and sustainability, who is helping to lead the local initiative.

Meyers, Rylander and many other volunteers picked up gear they needed to participate from a location in downtown Boulder.

The two women attached the heat sensor and then drove to Tom Watson Park, north of Boulder Reservoir. From there, they were supposed to drive a meandering route through the city, trying to maintain a steady speed of 35 mph as the sensor made measurements every second, recording temperature, humidity, time of day and location until the drive ended near Foothills Community Park in the north Boulder foothills. 

Read more on ColoradoSun.com.

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