Charleston becomes first South Carolina city to map heat islands in national initiative

Updated: Apr. 15, 2021 at 4:46 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston is set to become the first city in South Carolina to take part in a national initiative to map the city’s heat islands.

The city and a number of other groups, including The Citadel and MUSC, will take part in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Heat Watch project.

Later this year, volunteers will spread out across the city to measure temperatures several times over the course of a single day to see which areas get the hottest and how much temperatures can vary.

Heat islands – the warmest spots – can be the result of more buildings and paved surfaces, which absorb heat more than grassy areas and plants.

That data can then be used in a number of ways, including as another way to help guide where and how the city invests money and resources.

“The city will get an additional layer for the city dataset to be able to think as you’re working on the very interesting, say, parks projects, the (comprehensive plan)… how do all of these projects introduce an opportunity to compare that extreme heat data and think about ways to draw down heat risk when you do those projects,” said Janice Barnes, the founder and managing partner of Climate Adaptation Partners.

Another goal is to increase public awareness about the dangers of extreme heat and steps individuals can take to reduce risk. Cities in 11 states will take part in the effort this year.

Click here and here to learn more.

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