Heat Island Effect
Welcome to EPA's Urban Heat Island Newsroom. The Newsroom provides current news and links to news releases related to urban heat island impacts, mitigation strategies, and community initiatives. To help keep you up to date, you may also wish to sign up for EPA's Urban Heat Island Newsletter. Older stories can be found in the Newsroom Archive.
- Urban Tree Growth & Longevity Working Group Releases Study on Urban Tree Data (January 26, 2015) – The Urban Tree Growth & Longevity Working Group—an independent collaboration of scientists and professionals—released a study that assesses the accuracy of field data collected by minimally trained volunteers and interns.
- Philadelphia Parks Department Launches Three Urban Forestry Experiments (January 23, 2014) – The Philadelphia Parks Department is launching experiments at roughly 30-acre sites in Cobbs Creek and Wissahickon Valley parks to plant tree species capable of surviving in temperature conditions expected at the end of this century.
- Storm Lake, Iowa Receives Grant to Complete Tree Inventory (January 22, 2015) – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources awarded a grant titled “Sustainable Urban Forestry Training and Assistance for Communities over 5,000” to provide training to municipal staff, non-profits, and interested citizens so that Storm Lake can complete a public tree inventory, prepare for Emerald Ash Borer issues, and create a sustainable urban forestry program.
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Awards Over $900,000 in Urban Forestry Grants (January 14, 2015) – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is awarding nearly $930,000 for 40 urban forestry projects in communities across New York to help protect air, water, and natural resources, and to enhance urban communities.
- University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Scientists Model Urban Heat Island Effect (January 13, 2015) – Scientists from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research —an earth science research consortium of more than 100 member colleges and universities—have found that differences in air turbulence between rural and urban areas are the primary cause of the daytime urban heat island effect, with the nighttime differences dominated more by differences in vegetation cover.
- Indiana University Examines Urban Tree Survival and Growth (January 10, 2015) – Indiana University researchers are surveying more than 1,300 trees in Indianapolis to understand what characteristics predict survival and growth of trees in neighborhood tree-planting projects. The researchers find that tree size, resident tenure, and correct mulching are positively related to tree success, while high stem diameter (more than 2 inches) at planting, crown dieback, and lower trunk damage are all negatively correlated with tree success.
- Pascagoula, Mississippi Awarded $50,000 Grant to Restore Urban Forest (January 8, 2015) – Pascagoula, Mississippi received a $50,000 National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant under its Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program to restore an acre of urban forest, install two rain gardens, and remove one acre of invasive plant species.
- Modesto, California Increases Urban Forestry Spending and Initiatives (January 3, 2015) – The Forestry division of Modesto, California is hiring workers, trimming trees, attacking tree-killing parasites, restarting the city nursery, and planting trees for the first time in nearly 10 years. The division is reallocating about $290,000 from community forestry’s $3 million budget to hire six permanent maintenance workers.
- Portland Enacts Tree Code That Requires Homeowners to Obtain Permissions Before Cutting Down Trees (January 1, 2015) – Portland is adopting a new city tree code designed to require homeowners to obtain a permit to cut down trees, with fines of up to $1000 for those who fail to comply. Portland now becomes one of a growing number of cities in North America to adopt this type of requirement.
- Knoxville, Kentucky to Plant Over 600 Trees (December 19, 2014) – Knoxville, Kentucky is implementing a new urban forestry plan by identifying and selecting the best sites to plant 45 different species of trees in parks, greenways, and rights-of-way.
- Greenpoint, Brooklyn Receives $2 Million Grant to Plant 500 New Trees (December 17, 2014) – Greenpoint, Brooklyn received a $2 million grant from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund to plant 500 neighborhood trees. The “Greening Greenpoint” initiative, which is partnering with the MillionTreesNYC program, will also include removing up to 25,000 square feet of impervious concrete around 675 existing tree beds and training 10 high school students to participate in an urban and community forestry paid internship program.
- Savannah River Remediation in Georgia Installs Cool Roofs (December 14, 2014) – Savannah River Remediation in Savannah, Georgia installed two cool roofs on office buildings that are expected to reduce rooftop temperatures from 150 to 100 degrees, with corresponding reductions in cooling costs.
- Idaho Department of Lands Study Examines Ecosystem Benefits of Trees (December 11, 2014) – A study by the Idaho Department of Lands finds that trees provide $900,000 in ecosystem benefits to cities in eastern Idaho, and that there are about 250,000 trees shading 7.6 percent of the area, with a replacement value exceeding $450 million.
- Researchers Examine Efficacy of Low- and No-Cost Tree Planting Programs (December 4, 2014) – Researchers examined tree planting programs in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, and found that free or reduced-cost programs for tree planting on private lands were most effective in the most affluent neighborhoods with the most existing tree canopy. The researchers aim to create a framework for testing which land management strategies are most effective, where, and with whom in order to improve the ability to plan and enhance urban sustainability and resilience through urban forestry.
- Queens, New York Park Collecting Urban Forestry Data (December 3, 2014) – Alley Pond Park in Queens, New York is collecting soil temperature, precipitation, and other data from woodlands as part of the U.S. Forest Service’s “Smart Forests” initiative . Data that previously took months to distribute can now be shared within hours of collection.
- Miami Neighborhoods Receive Grants to Plant 200 Trees (December 2, 2014) – Two Miami-Dade county neighborhoods located in areas with above-average temperatures received $100,000 in grants from the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network to plant 200 trees as part of the Million Trees Miami campaign.
- New York City, New York Developer Installs 2 Green Roofs (November 26, 2014) – A New York City, New York developer installed two green roofs totaling 20,000 square feet at its Manhattan office building. The roof is intended to improve stormwater retention and reduce the urban heat island effect.
- University of Wisconsin Researchers Examine Causes of Urban Heat Island Effect (November 25, 2014) – University of Wisconsin researchers examined how temperatures in Madison, Wisconsin vary at the neighborhood level. The researchers found that the density of urban development and lack of vegetation had the greatest impact on temperature variation, and that warming within Madison was more pronounced during the summer, and particularly at night, under calm, clear conditions.
- EPA Releases Report on Benefits of Green Infrastructure (October 27, 2014) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report highlighting the many benefits of green infrastructure, including reducing the urban heat island effect.
- Climate Wisconsin Documents Impacts of Extreme Heat Events (October 27, 2014) – Climate Wisconsin released a video that documents the impacts of extreme heat events in Wisconsin, where deaths from such events since 1982 outnumber fatalities from all other natural disasters combined . Climate Wisconsin cites a report from the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts that concludes that by the middle of the century, Wisconsin residents are projected to experience 1.5 to 4 more weeks of daytime temperatures exceeding 90ºF.
- Ninaski Brewing Company in Eugene, Oregon, Installs Green Roof (September 2, 2014) – Ninaski Brewing Company installed a 6,100-square foot green roof that reduces stormwater runoff and moderates runoff water temperature.
- Tree Canopy Project Receives Grant in Catonsville, Maryland (September 3, 2014) – A project to increase the tree canopy in Catonsville, Maryland, by planting 1,000 trees by 2020 received a $10,000 grant from Baltimore Gas and Electric.
- Montana Completes Urban Forest Inventory (September 8, 2014) – The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation has completed an urban forest inventory that assesses tree size, health, species, and location within 39 communities across the state.
- Forest Heights, Maryland, Plants 1,100 Trees, Intends to Plant 500 More (September 8, 2014) – The town of Forest Heights, Maryland, has planted 1,100 trees since 2008, and intends to plant 500 additional trees with the help of 150 University of Maryland students.
- University of Iowa Installs Second Green Roof (September 9, 2014) – The University of Iowa installed its second, 600-square foot green roof on top of the Seamans Center engineering building.
- Los Angeles, California Apartment Buildings Feature Cool Roof Designs (September 9, 2014) – In Los Angeles, California, the Coronado Place and Knob Hill Apartments are built with newly installed cool roof systems intended to increase building energy efficiency for low-income residents.
- Arizona State University Researchers Find that Urban Forest in Phoenix, Arizona Can Mitigate Urban Heat Island Effect (September 23, 2014) – Arizona State University researchers released a study concluding that, for a typical neighborhood in Phoenix, increasing tree canopy cover to 25% from the current level of about 10% could reduce air temperature by 4.3 degrees Fahrenheit. For a bare neighborhood with no vegetation, the researchers found that adding 25% canopy could reduce air temperatures by 7.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Releases Interactive Map on Rooftop Reflectance in California Cities (September 23, 2014) – Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released an interactive map that uses aerial imagery to provide data on the reflectivity of roofs in Bakersfield, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose, California.
- Western Illinois University Installs Green Roof (September 29, 2014) – Western Illinois University installed a 9,720-foot green roof composed of seasonal plants.
- Sunnyvale, California, Passes Urban Forest Management Plan (September 24, 2014) – The city of Sunnyvale, California, approved an urban forest management plan that aims to increase the city's tree canopy, maintain street trees, foster community support for maintaining and improving the city's urban forest, and encourage proper tree management on private property.