Sustainable Columbus  
910 Dublin Road
Columbus, OH 43215 

Alana Shockey
Deputy Director, Sustainable Columbus
[email protected]

Erin Beck
Assistant Director
[email protected]

David R. Celebrezze
Resilience and Behavior Change Manager
[email protected]

Bethany Bella
Building and Energy Coordinator
[email protected]

Sara Ernst
Natural Resource Protection Coordinator
[email protected]

Teneah Chambers
Green Jobs & Aggregation Coordinator
[email protected]

Abby Pope
One Water Coordinator
[email protected]

Shanikka Flinn
Equitable Engagement Coordinator
[email protected]

Report illegal dumping to [email protected]

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Columbus Area Heat Map Report

The results of a summer heat mapping campaign reveal temperatures in Columbus neighborhoods can vary by up to 13 degrees at the same time of day. The report, released by Sustainable Columbus in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and CAPA Strategies, demonstrates how some parts of the community are warmer than others.

Three takeaways from the report are some areas of the community experiencing increased heat during the day, while the evening mapping data revealed a maximum 13.2 degree differential; strong community support for the project (more than 200 interested volunteers); and the data will inform the implementation of strategies and actions within the Columbus Climate Action Plan. 

View the report here.

View the press release here.

View maps for each of the three time slots here. Please note the temperature range at the bottom of each map. The color scale used is specific to each map. 

Interactive GIS map.

Steps to keep safe during heat waves • Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as you can.
• Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty.
• Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
• Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
• Pace yourself.
• Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
• Check on family members, neighbors and pets.
• Watch for heat illness such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke123. Learn to recognize the signs and how to respond.
• Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face if you’re outside.
• Avoid high-energy activities or work outdoors, during midday heat, if possible.
• Avoid sugary, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks1. If you are sweating a lot, combine water with snacks or a sports drink to replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.
• Never leave people or pets in a closed car on a warm day.
• Find locations where you can stay cool if you do not have air conditioning or if there is a power outage. For example, a public library, shopping mall, or a public cooling center. Plan how you will get there.
• Talk to your doctor about how to prepare if you have a medical condition or are taking medicines. Keep personal, financial, and medical records safe and easy to access (hard copies or securely backed up). Consider keeping a list of your medications and dosages on a small card to carry with you.
• Cover windows with drapes or shades. Weather-strip doors and windows. Use window reflectors specifically designed to reflect heat back outside. Add insulation to keep the heat out. Use a powered attic ventilator, or attic fan, to regulate the heat level of a building’s attic by clearing out hot air. Install window air conditioners and insulate around them.

Project Update! On Friday, August 12th volunteers traversed twenty-two routes during three time slots. The sensors were collected and shipped to CAPA Strategies that will download the data. Expect a report in the October/November. 
1 day
2 amazing interns (Liv! Micah!)
3 time slots
5 media stories
14 partner groups
22 routes
22 recruitment memes
78 volunteers rode the routes
225 interested volunteers
243.25 square miles
Heat mapping

Urban Heat Island project-background

According to the U.S. EPA heat islands are urbanized areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas. Columbus has the fastest-growing urban heat island effect of major U.S. cities. This impacts health, wildlife, and the economy. Extreme heat kills more Americans than any other weather event, and can lead to illnesses such as heat stroke and exhaustion, but not everyone’s risk is the same. A 2021 EPA report concluded that Black and African American individuals are 40-59% more likely than non-Black and non-African American individuals to currently live in high-impact heat mortality areas. Studies have also shown that hotter days are linked to worse test scores for Black and Hispanic children, widening the racial gap in schools. 

The City of Columbus, along with partners Franklin County Public Health, Green Columbus, the Ohio State University’s Byrd Climate and Polar Research Center, Friends of the Lower Olentangy, MORPC, and the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District, will map the hottest parts of the city and surrounding areas in Franklin County.

NOAA-funded CAPA Strategies, LLC will work with local partners and the community in the summer of 2022 to collect data necessary to protect disproportionately affected neighborhoods. Using heat sensors mounted on their own cars or bikes, volunteer citizen scientists, led by Columbus and Franklin County, will traverse their neighborhoods in the morning, afternoon, and evening on one of the hottest days of the year. The sensors record temperature, humidity, time, and the volunteers’ location every second. CAPA's end-to-end program, including sensor technology, analysis and modeling, and community engagement, allows communities to develop hyper-local descriptions of heat and strategize mitigation options specific to each region of the country.

Data gathered in Columbus will inform implementation of the community-wide Columbus Climate Action Plan, particularly around imparting environmental justice and building climate resiliency. It will shape actions such as creating a regional climate hazards alert system, establishing a network of resiliency hubs, and increasing equitable tree canopy. 


Urban Heat Island project-action

The city is taking steps to address it. Columbus is one of 16 cities to receive a NOAA-funded project to map out the heat islands through a community-led campaign. 

The project seeks roughly 200 volunteers to drive along a predetermined route over three separate one-hour periods during a hot day collecting data from equipment that will be provided. Each route will have 2-3 people--a driver, navigator, and backup. 

Drivers will need a valid driver’s license, auto insurance, and access to a vehicle. In addition to the three hours of data collection, volunteers will first be asked to attend a one-hour Volunteer Training Session, complete a short knowledge quiz, and sign a liability waiver. Drivers will be compensated. 
The date of the heat mapping will be sometime between August 5th and 17th. The exact date will be known a few days beforehand (depends on atmospheric conditions). 

If you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or would like to learn more, please respond to this Volunteer Intake Form or email David R. Celebrezze at [email protected].  

Questions? To learn more about the CAPA Heat Watch program, check out the CAPA Heat Watch.