PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – With each heat wave - some Portlanders may feel the effects more than others, all depending on where they live.
"As we drive around this part of Gresham, we're going to be collecting this information across residential areas, commercial areas, parks, open space, and that's going to help us understand how to do those spaces. Like we talked about before, affect temperature," Joey Williams, CAPA Heat Watch program manager, said.
CAPA stands for Climate Adaptation Planning Alliance - they're based in Southeast Portland but have done work on a national scale for four years now. Their Heat Watch program uses data collected by sensors on cars to map urban heat to find which areas in cities are hottest during heat waves like we've seen this summer. Their data has been used to create climate action plans in communities across the US.
Friday - they collected data in East Multnomah County to see how heat is distributed in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
"We're mapping from the Columbia to 161st to Corbett ave and out to the Sandy River. So, it's about 60 square miles. I just pulled some data off of this sensor here from the afternoon, and I saw a range from about 87-96 degrees Fahrenheit," Williams said. "I expect there will be more of a range when we collect data from other sensors."
He said East Multnomah County has a lot of asphalt and not a lot of tree cover - the two combined, along with other social factors, make for hotter days for residents who live there.
"The asphalt we're standing on is a great example right now. It's black and has low surface albedo, which means it's absorbing all the short waves, high-energy radiation from the sun and it's holding onto it. Whereas if we were on grass or under a tree we would see this dispersing heat much more quickly," Williams said. "We know that people out here are also less equipped to handle that heat - social vulnerability aspects that can really affect someone's ability to cope. Being that they have access to resources to cool off, energy affordability, their home is insulated well enough so they can cool off safely and affordably."
Williams said one of the best ways to make changes is to start conversations about how heat impacts areas differently.
"Everyone knows it's hot right now, but not everyone is feeling it the same way," he said.
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