LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – People hit the road collecting heat data around Little Rock after the city was 1 of 18 across the country chosen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to participate in a study showing where Urban Heat Islands are.

Paul Dickson volunteered to go out and collect data.

“With climate change being such an important topic, it’s a good idea to get all of the information and data you can to make informed decision about how to mitigate all of this weather and heat,” Dickson said.

Lennie Massanelli, a Sustainability Officer for the City of Little Rock, says the data aims to provide a clear map of heat concentrated areas in Little Rock.

“Urban heat island effect, when you think about concrete, parking lots, lots of buildings, not a lot of green spaces, those materials will absorb the heat, and won’t’ let it go, won’t release it,” Massanelli said.

She says the process is as simple as rolling down the passenger side window, attaching the sensor and driving away. As volunteers saw the sights of Little Rock, the sensors got to work. 

“So, the entire time they’re driving their route, that sensor I believe every second is tracking, temperature, humidity, place, and time, so all of the data on their route, and there are nine routes will give us a pretty good sampling of the hottest places in Little Rock,” Massanelli said.

Massanelli hopes the study will improve the city’s approach to heat safety to know where she says they need to work on some mitigation strategies.

“So that we are helping out the city of Little Rock our citizens whether they’re biking, walking, sitting, working, where we need some relief,” Massanelli said.

Not only will this data help humans, but the Laura Bernstein-Kurtcyz with the Little Rock Zoo says it’ll help the animals.

“We have shade structure up for a lot of our animals, but it might give us evidence for planting more trees, for putting up more shade,” Bernstein-Kurtcyz said.

Dickson encourages everyone to get involved next time.

“Not a big-time commitment, good training, really safe, definitely recommend people volunteer in the future for stuff like this,” Dickson said.