Boulder, CO Launches “Cool Boulder” Natural Climate Solution Campaign, NOAA to Map Heat Inequities in 14 U.S. Locales, More NOAA Urban Heat Island Mapping Stuff, Listeners’ Call to Action!

by | Jun 30, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Boulder, CO Launches “Cool Boulder” Natural Climate Solution Campaign, NOAA to Map Heat Inequities in 14 U.S. Locales, More NOAA Urban Heat Island Mapping Stuff, Listeners’ Call to Action!



The City of Boulder and several community partners announce the launch of Cool Boulder, a campaign to mobilize the Boulder community around natural climate solutions. The Cool Boulder campaign will help coordinate opportunities for community involvement in three action areas: Connected Canopies, Pollinator Pathways/Cool Corridors, and Absorbent Landscapes.

Said Natural Climate Solutions Policy Advisor Brett KenCairn. “We must fundamentally shift our relationship with the living world if we want to adequately address the climate emergency and its associated impacts.”

Natural climate solutions are also accessible to a much larger segment of the community. Many of the actions called for in natural climate solutions —tree planting, installing shade-creating pollinator-friendly gardens, or building low-tech structures that retain water in our landscapes — can be accessible to most community members and create economic opportunities.

These actions will increase the natural world’s ability to absorb carbon, heat, and water, making our community cooler, healthier, and better able to withstand a warmer and more volatile climate. Why does the Cool Boulder project matter to us? The West is experiencing extreme heat waves and drought, so natural cooling solutions can provide long-term benefits.

The launch of Cool Boulder is the latest step in the city’s multi-departmental effort to expand the scope and scale of climate action. As presented to the City Council in February, the city’s climate action must encompass both emissions reduction and preparation for more fires, floods, extreme weather and poor air quality. Expanding natural climate solutions is a key strategy in addressing both mitigation and resilience.

DEEPER DIVE: Cool Boulder,, NOAA



According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, extreme heat kills more Americans than any other weather event. Not everyone’s risk is the same. This summer, NOAA and community scientists will map the hottest parts of 14 U.S. cities and counties and, for the first time, two international cities as a way to help quantify and assess that risk.

This summer, using heat sensors mounted on their own cars or bikes, volunteer citizen scientists, led by a team of local partners in each city, will traverse their neighborhoods in the morning, afternoon, and evening The sensors record temperature, humidity, time and the volunteers’ location every second. 

NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D recently said, “Our nation faces a climate crisis that has exacerbated inequities for low-income communities and communities of color. NOAA is helping communities measure their hottest places so that they can use this information to inform strategies to reduce the unhealthy and deadly effects of extreme heat and help us build a Climate Ready Nation.”

The U.S. communities chosen for the program include Boulder, Colorado; Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas; Columbia, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Jacksonville, Florida; Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Montgomery County, Maryland; Omaha, Nebraska; Spokane, Washington; Philadelphia; Brooklyn, New York and San Francisco. In addition, NOAA is working with local groups in Africa and Brazil on international campaigns in Freetown, Sierra Leone and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Why does NOAA mapping of heat inequities in 14 US cities matter to all of us? Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves, said, “As climate change worsens heat waves, this critical information will help bring local and equitable solutions for those facing the greatest threats.”

DEEPER DIVE: NOAA, Heat Fatalities Graph



In our last story, Jeffrey mentioned the 14 US cities NOAA is planning to heat map this summer. Well, over the past five years, NOAA has funded a company called CAPA Strategies, LLC to provide science support for 35 community-led campaigns to map urban heat islands, nationwide, too. CAPA (Climate Adaptation Planning + Analytics) helps communities plan for an uncertain future with a custom set of products and services to inform decisions to safeguard communities.

CAPA’s program includes sensor technology, analysis and modeling, and community engagement. It allows communities to develop hyper-local descriptions of heat and strategize mitigation options specific to each region of the country. During the 2021 urban heat island campaign, 799 citizen scientists took 1.2 million measurements in 24 communities. 

This summer, the NOAA Climate Program Office will join with the interagency National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) and CAPA Strategies, LLC to launch new community-led heat mapping campaigns. Local teams will map what are called urban heat islands, areas that can be up to 20 degrees hotter than nearby neighborhoods. The 2022 heat mapping campaign will also feature new, NOAA-funded instruments to better characterize urban climate and health hazards.

Why does this NOAA joint heat-mapping collaboration matter to all of us? Two words: environmental justice.

Cities from past campaigns used their heat island maps to develop heat action plans, add cooling stations to bus shelters, educate residents and policymakers and inform new research. Last year, NIHHIS funded five new applied research projects in cities across the country to help develop tools for equitable heat intervention, investigate heat in rural areas and smaller cities and investigate the effect of coastlines on urban heat patterns.

BTW, NOAA’s mapping program is part of the Biden Administration’s Justice40 initiative, a whole-of-government effort to ensure that federal agencies work with states and local communities to make good on President Biden’s promise to deliver 40% of benefits from federal investment in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.




Recently, one of our listeners shared her story of how listening to the climate daily helped her deal so well with her climate change overwhelm, that she got out and started working with the local community based group. Then she challenged us to ask you all to share any stories you might have of how listening to the climate daily might have inspired you into action, so we can share them with the world.

Remember, we’re all about sharing stories of people taking positive action to combat climate change. And that’s you listeners. You can hit us up on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at #wetheclimate or Jeffrey at The Climate dot org or Maude at The Climate dot org, also.