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Oklahoma City conducting survey on heat perception

The thermal imaging device attached to Sarah Terry-Cobo's iPhone is from a company called FLIR. Darker colors are cooler temperatures whereas lighter colors are hotter.
Britny Cordera
/
KGOU Radio
The thermal imaging device attached to Sarah Terry-Cobo's iPhone is from a company called FLIR. Darker colors are cooler temperatures whereas lighter colors are hotter.

The office of sustainability for the City of Oklahoma City is conducting a short survey on heat perception. The survey is continuing research for OKC’s urban heat island campaign.

OKC’s office of sustainability held a citizen science project over the summer where volunteers took temperature readings in different parts of the city using their smartphones and imaging technology attached to their cars.

The heat mapping campaign is funded by NOAA, and spearheaded by the Climate Adaption Planning and Analytics Heat Watch (CAPA) and local organizations. Oklahoma is one of 14 states that participated in the campaign this year.

The project has been active since 2017 to compare extreme heat in more urban areas with more rural ones and collect data on the urban heat island effect. According to the EPA, the effect can increase energy costs, air pollution, and heat-related illnesses.

Now, the city is conducting a survey that asks about the community’s experiences with extreme heat and how prepared they feel when temperatures are on the rise as part of ongoing research on how OKC can better prepare for global warming.

According to Sarah Terry Cobo who works for the Office of Sustainability and led this summer’s campaign, the city wants to know where extreme heat affects community members.

“We specifically want to know if it affects Oklahomans more at home, at work, or in transit, and how are they prepared to deal with these effects,” she said.

Terry-Cobo hopes the survey will help the sustainability office work with stakeholders and residents to develop an intervention guidebook.

“This is going to help inform policy and our programs that will help reduce these effects of urban heat island in the city and in particular on those who are most vulnerable,” she said

Results for the campaign should come out later this month, and survey results should come out next spring, Terry-Cobo said.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Britny (they/them) reports for StateImpact Oklahoma with an emphasis on science and environment.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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