NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk is working to address climate change by installing heat sensors across the city.
“Due to climate change, heat waves are expected to become more common and intensified, which can be dangerous to human health and wellbeing. The heat sensors have been mounted on trees or electric poles to track temperatures in different settings within the City over the next four months to allow Norwalk to better understand local environmental conditions,” a news release said.
Thirteen non-invasive, temporary, wireless heat sensors record temperature, relative humidity, and dew point temperature at the street level to identify vulnerable areas to heat and extreme climate conditions, in a partnership with the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA).
“Extreme heat is a leading cause of climate vulnerability,” Mayor Harry Rilling is quoted as saying, calling this a “proactive” move. “This initiative will help the City identify vulnerable areas to heat so we can implement the most effective ways to help our community prepare for when temperatures become oppressive, especially among disproportionately affected communities.”
Heat sensors are strategically placed approximately 5-6 feet above ground so that data can capture the differences between street and satellite measured temperatures and heat vulnerability in the area, the news release said.
“If you see one of the heat sensors in the community, we ask that you leave it be and consider explaining the significance of how it will help the City learn more about climate vulnerability to others,” Rilling said. “This initiative is an opportunity to implement natural climate solutions, especially in urban areas where people experience warmer air temperatures.”
“City landscapes tend to have hotter temperatures than surrounding areas,” the news release said. “Norwalk plans to use the heat index data to identify the variability of air and surface temperature over time, especially as it relates to urbanization. This will help the City determine policies such as where to place cooling centers and concentrate efforts to alleviate heat-related illness, as well as understand how certain traffic flows affect heat output.”
The City lists these locations as having sensors:
- Bouton Street
- Calf Pasture Beach
- Cranbury Park
- East Norwalk Train Station
- Huckleberry Drive
- Norwalk Community College
- Norwalk Fire Station 2
- Norwalk Fire Station 5
- Norwalk High School/Naramake Elementary School
- Norwalk Main Public Library/Norwalk Center
- Rowayton Shoreline
- SONO Police Property Division/Station
- West Rocks Middle School
The locations were chosen based on heat vulnerability data from CIRCA, with a goal of diversifying locations while also selecting sites close to public facilities such as schools, municipal buildings, etc., the news release said. You can learn more about this project through CIRCA’s Norwalk Heat Study, here.
Norwalk Community College is also involved in the venture.