Street Scientists Collect Temperature Data Across County

Montgomery County is one of 19 locations across the country that participated in a community urban heat mapping day Aug. 7 to collect data on the heat and humidity throughout the county.

Street scientists, otherwise known as 110 interested and willing volunteers, drove by their neighborhoods with a sensor attached to their car. That sensor recorded the surface temperature, humidity and exact location.

Experts from NOAA, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, One Montgomery Green and the numerous volunteers collected the data that will be used to help officials learn where its hot spots are and how to alleviate them.

While many people think of hurricanes and tornadoes as the most dangerous forms of weather, heat actually is worse and kills more people, said Ken Graham, director of NOAA’s Weather Service. Currently, Montgomery County experiences 19.4 days per year when temperatures are at least 90 degrees. Come 2050, the number of very hot days is expected to jump to 67.9 days per year, he said.

Once the data is gathered, the county will then decide how to mitigate the high temperatures. Ideas include planting more trees, using different road and sidewalk surfaces, painting with specialized paints and adding cooling centers, explained Gretchen Goldman, Assistant Director for Environmental Science, Engineering, Policy, and Justice at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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