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Cincinnati Heat Islands Disproportionally Affect Low-Income Communities
A heat map produced by measuring temperatures across Cincinnati on August 10, 2020 bears a striking resemblance to maps of household income, neighborhood demographics, and the history of redlining, reports Danny Wicentowski. The findings of the study support the unfortunate reality that communities of color in the United States bear the brunt of climate change impacts.
The report, made possible by funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Program Office, "observed that large developments absorb and retain heat throughout the day, affecting even nearby residences," Wicentowski writes. The report further noted a commonality between the hottest areas: a notable lack of vegetation. Conversely, the coolest temperatures measured on that summer day were recorded in areas with ample tree-cover.
Wicentowski reminds readers that minimal tree canopy in lower-income areas is hardly a revelation and has even been noted in a 2018 version of the Green Cincinnati Plan. One of the plan's "major resiliency recommendations: increase the city’s tree canopy to shield communities from ever-increasing heat in the summer and to soak up water from those massive rainfall events."
According to a Cincinnati Parks press release, the data from the study will be used to prioritize areas of service to "implement targeted planting plans in communities with the greatest need."