OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — The Oklahoma City Office of Sustainability will be hosting an Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaign on August 12 to map extreme heat in urban areas with the help of volunteers from the metro area.

According to the EPA, urban heat islands are areas where man-made structures absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural areas such as forests or lakes.

As a result, those urban areas become ‘islands’ where the temperature can increase by up to 7°F in the daytime and 5°F in the nighttime in comparison to natural areas. Humid regions like the eastern U.S. and cities with higher population density can experience even greater temperature differences.

About 250 volunteer ‘street scientists ‘ will attach equipment to their vehicle’s window that will collect data as the volunteers drive along an assigned route.

The equipment will measure air temperature, air quality and tracking location. Volunteers will travel along their assigned routes at times in the early morning, late afternoon and evening.

After the data is collected, CAPA Strategies, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) contractor, will complete a report that will help local decision-makers, planners and health organization determine the best course of action for reducing the health impacts of extreme heat.

For more information on urban heat islands and the summer 2023 campaigns, visit the National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) website and follow #UrbanHeatMaps2023 on social media.