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Dallas Maps Heat Areas To Combat Urban Heat Effects

The city aims to continue identifying areas vulnerable to extreme temperatures
Photo: VladisChern / Shutterstock

In an effort to mitigate the impacts of extreme heat, the city of Dallas is set to expand its mapping of urban heat islands across approximately 245 square miles on Aug. 10, 2024. This initiative aims to identify areas where residents are most vulnerable to elevated temperatures, which can exacerbate health risks and strain infrastructure.

During this year's campaign, volunteers equipped with specially designed sensors will traverse designated routes at three key times of day — morning, afternoon and evening.  This data collection effort, overseen by the city’s office of environmental quality and sustainability (OEQS), seeks to pinpoint locations experiencing elevated temperatures due to the urban heat island effect.

In 2023, Dallas mapped 100 square miles of the city focusing on neighborhoods such as Kiest Park, Mountain Creek and Lakewood. This year, they will cover additional areas including Pleasant Grove, Buckner Terrace and Northwest Dallas, highlighting its importance in climate resilience planning.

Urban heat islands, characterized by dense infrastructure and limited green spaces, can register temperatures up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than nearby cooler zones with greater tree cover and less asphalt. This disparity poses significant health risks, especially among vulnerable populations.

"This data will help us advance climate mitigation, adaptation, environmental quality, and climate justice goals," read an official statement from the city's environmental office. The mapping initiative aligns with Dallas' Comprehensive Environmental & Climate Action Plan (CECAP) and its commitment to reducing the urban heat island effect, enhancing green infrastructure, and promoting equity across communities.

Click here for more information on volunteering for data collection and the city's climate initiatives.

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