Tuesday, July 23

Urban heat island research volunteers measure Sedona temperatures and humidity 2023

Saturday, June 24, residents and tourists may see automobiles and motorcycles with heat sensors.

NOAA will use citizen scientists to map heat islands worldwide. Morning, midday, and evening heat and humidity will be measured.

Sedona is one of 18 cities studied this year. NOAA has mapped heat islands in 70 localities in the U.S. and other nations over seven years.

Morgan Zabow, NOAA community heat and health information coordinator, was curious about urban heat island temperatures.

Zabow said tall buildings, asphalt, and less natural spaces make cities warmer than undeveloped places.

She stated urban heat islands might be 15–20 degrees hotter than rural, forested regions.

Sedona has 10,000 residents and 3 million tourists every year.

Zabow said visitors lack heat sensitivity and are unaccustomed to hot temperatures. She said that senior folks are more sensitive to heat. Sedona’s median age is 60.

Heat pockets in Sedona will be mapped by volunteers driving predefined routes using heat sensors on their automobiles. Erinanne Staffell, Arizona State Climatologist and ASU professor, stated 30–45 volunteers will travel five–seven routes.

13-year Sedona resident Peggy Chaikin is a study volunteer. She likes strolling in neighborhoods and on trails at approximately 76 years old.

“I have an intimate connection with road-generated heat,” Chaikin added.

Chaikin expects the findings will lead to energy conservation and cooling initiatives.

“I’m thrilled our town was chosen for this study,” she remarked. “It will provide the data we need to work together as a community to prepare and protect the most vulnerable while encouraging others to leave their cars parked as much as possible. We have many visitors who may learn from Sedona and apply heat treatments to their own cities.”

NOAA will recommend cooling center locations in a study, hoping to inspire other Arizona communities.

By 2050, NOAA anticipates 118 days over 90 degrees in Sedona. Sedona averaged 74 90-degree days between 1976 and 2005.

Because temperatures were lower than planned, the research was postponed to the end of June.

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