Linden Neighborhood Conversation

Melanie Crabill
Director of Media Relations
[email protected]

Kevin Kilbane
Director of Communications
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Media Advisory
News Date: April 27, 2022

Columbus Selected to Participate in National Heat-mapping Campaign

The City of Columbus is one of 16 municipalities selected to participate in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) heat-mapping campaign to study and address the urban “heat island effect,” which are specific areas that can be up to 20 degrees hotter than nearby neighborhoods. The data collected by this campaign will be used to help protect and strengthen communities of color, low-income residents and the city’s Opportunity Neighborhoods.

“Our community is already experiencing more 90+ degree days and prolonged periods of extreme heat due to the effects of a changing climate,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “What’s more, our most vulnerable residents are the ones who are most at risk. We must become more resilient and adaptable as a community to better ensure the health, well-being and quality of life for all our residents, and this grant will help us do just that.”

Extreme heat kills more Americans than any other weather event – leading to illnesses such as heat stroke and exhaustion – but not everyone’s risk is the same. A 2021 EPA report concluded that Black Americans are 40-59% more likely than non-Black Americans to live in high-impact heat mortality areas. Studies have also shown that hotter days are linked to lower test scores for Black and Hispanic children, further widening racial gaps in school performance and educational outcomes.

“The breadth of partnerships involved with this initiative speaks volumes to the importance and urgency of this work,” said Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy. “Protecting communities of color, low-income residents and our Opportunity Neighborhoods is a top priority for Columbus City Council, and we are happy to help support this initiative.”

The City of Columbus will collaborate with NOAA-funded CAPA Strategies LLC, Franklin County Public Health, Green Columbus, The Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, Friends of the Lower Olentangy, MORPC and the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District to map the hottest parts of the city and surrounding areas. The campaign is estimated to cost $22,000 and will be jointly funded by NOAA, the city and Franklin County Public Health.

“We recognize that the city, county and nation continue to experience the effects of a changing climate, among them increased heat, especially in our urban areas,” said Franklin County Public Health Commissioner Joe Mazzola. “The data gathered as part of this project will allow us to expand our sustainability efforts and follow our North Star of Equity by working closely with our partners to ensure our most vulnerable populations have equitable access to safe, cooler and healthy green spaces in our community.”

Using heat sensors mounted on cars and bikes, volunteer citizen scientists will assist the effort by traveling throughout local neighborhoods on the hottest days of the year to inform mitigation options that are specific to each region.

“We are proud to be a partner on this important project. The heat island effect is a critical threat to our environment and most vulnerable populations, and this study will provide the data we need to mitigate the impact. We are excited to work with the city and the county on this effort,” said Shelly Douglas, Earth Day Director of Green Columbus.

Communities participating in the campaign will ensure the inclusion of environmental-justice communities and share their outcomes with the White House. Data will also inform the ongoing implementation of the Columbus Climate Action Plan. To learn more about the city’s sustainability and climate work, visit