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Elizabeth Pagano is the editor of the Austin Monitor.
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NOAA grant funds extreme heat project
Wednesday, June 30, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano
The city and UT Austin have teamed up for a two-year project that will study the disparate impact of extreme heat on the city and look for solutions. According to a press release, the project has “three main goals: creating dynamic heat maps that plot how people experience heat alongside actual temperature measurements; using those maps to develop strategies to cool down temperature hot spots; and finally, presenting the data and potential solutions to community members and city decision-makers.” Of particular focus is East Austin, which has more frequent hot spots than other parts of town. Researchers will use satellite data, sensors and computer models along with resident input, “engaging in discussions about temperature hot spots in their communities and receiving feedback on temperature maps.” Project lead Dev Niyogi, a professor at the UT Jackson School of Geosciences and Cockrell School of Engineering, said, “This project will help businesses and communities and it is helping students to develop a purpose for their research. They are not simply trying to develop an analysis or a plot; it’s a project that means a better life for someone if we do this right.” In June, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration selected the project for $296,477 in funding along with three others that focus on community-led urban heat mapping and the inequitably distributed impacts of extreme heat.
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