Gonzaga Climate Center completes Urban Heat Island Map

Green White Food Business Promotion Twitter Post 70
Credit: Gonzaga Climate Center

SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga University’s Climate Center recently announced it has completed its urban heat island map of Spokane.

Using special sensors mounted to their cars, over 40 volunteers drove seven routes, covering 69.5 square miles across the city.

The center found that due to differences in tree cover, green spaces, and dark surfaces, some areas throughout Spokane were as much as 13.9° warmer. That means a 90° day in one neighborhood could be a 104° day for another.

Dark building materials like concrete, asphalt, and dark rooftops retain more heat from light, causing areas like downtown to experience higher temperatures.

“Data from Gonzaga’s Beat the Heat program will help Spokane be better prepared for future extreme heat events and take adaptive measures to support those most at risk from heat exposure. This work will save lives,” said Kara Odegard, Spokane City Council Sustainability Manager.

Summer temperatures are also projected to be warmer. This is due to a lack of reductions in the use of fossil fuels for heating, electricity, and transportation.

This study was made possible by a a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organization’s National Integrated Heat Health Information System.

You can view the Gonzaga Climate Center’s full report here.

READ: Gonzaga climate center receives $100,000 EPA grant