Thursday, October 14, 2021

How sizzling is your ‘hood? New map takes Ottawa’s temperature

Within the mid-summer of 2019, Ottawa was melting beneath a withering warmth wave. On July 18, Setting Canada issued a warmth…

By Staff , in Palladium , at October 14, 2021

Within the mid-summer of 2019, Ottawa was melting beneath a withering warmth wave.

On July 18, Setting Canada issued a warmth warning and Ottawa Public Well being suggested residents to remain hydrated and test on susceptible neighbours.

Based on historic climate information, the temperature that Thursday neared 28 C and it felt like 31 with the humidity, however sure areas of the town have been significantly hotter — as a lot as 10 levels Celsius hotter in some locations.

A map produced by the town and public well being exhibits exactly the place these sizzling spots have been — and the place they continue to be at this time.

Utilizing satellite tv for pc imagery, the colour-coded map exhibits a variety in floor temperatures recorded that day, from 15 C alongside parts of the Ottawa River to between 36 and 38 C in sure small pockets of the town the place each water and vegetation are briefly provide.


These pockets seem on the map as purple dots surrounded by brown, yellow and different hues representing barely cooler temperatures. The good areas seem on the map in shades of inexperienced and blue.

A lot of asphalt, few bushes

One of many purple zones is Carlingwood Purchasing Centre the place the previous Sears retailer was demolished simply three months earlier than the satellite tv for pc picture was taken, and its surrounding car parking zone.

Even on a transparent October day, it is easy to see why: the mall’s expansive roof is flat and darkish in color, it is surrounded by hectares of asphalt, and in contrast to close by residential neighbourhoods, there’s just about no vegetation to assist soak up the warmth or protect consumers from the solar’s glare. That is the city warmth island impact in motion.

Island within the inexperienced: Carlingwood Purchasing Centre was one of many hottest spots within the metropolis on July 18, 2019. The encircling neighbourhoods would have felt a number of levels cooler. (Google Maps)

“The floor temperature vary is fairly astonishing,” mentioned Robb Barnes, govt director of Ecology Ottawa, who received his first good take a look at the map earlier this month. “We all know that the city warmth island impact is pronounced, however I did not know it will be that excessive.”

Solely a handful of different areas reached the identical floor temperature as Carlingwood on July 18, 2019, all within the metropolis’s east finish: St. Laurent Purchasing Centre, OC Transpo headquarters on St. Laurent Boulevard, an industrial park close to the Canada Science and Know-how Museum, and pockets close to the Large Tiger on Walkley Highway.

All of them share widespread traits with Carlingwood: huge buildings with flat roofs, huge floor parking heaps and little to no greenery.

Robb Barnes, govt director of Ecology Ottawa, believes warmth maps can be utilized to assist information metropolis coverage on a spread of points from tree planting to housing. (Submitted/Ecology Ottawa)

Maps are ‘highly effective instruments’

These warmth maps can inform one other story, too, Barnes mentioned: They will lay naked the issue of housing inequality by demonstrating wealthier neighbourhoods are usually extra verdant than poorer ones, and subsequently extra comfy for the individuals dwelling there.

“Maps are such highly effective instruments for conveying that data,” Barnes mentioned. “There’s a lot you are able to do with that type of map information that might actually assist paint an image of what is wanted in Ottawa, and what are the alternatives for bettering our metropolis.”

One apparent resolution is planting extra bushes to breathe some life into these barren areas.

The town’s draft official plan units a long-term city tree cover goal of 40 per cent, an formidable objective contemplating solely about one-quarter of Ottawa’s city panorama is at present shaded by bushes. (A separate tree cover evaluation of the Nationwide Capital Area within the fall of 2019 estimated Ottawa’s protection at 31 per cent.)

The barren car parking zone at Carlingwood Purchasing Centre gives little safety from the solar’s rays. On July 18, 2019, the floor temperature right here reached as excessive as 38 C. (Alistair Steele/CBC)

maps like these reveals the place these bushes are wanted most, based on Jennifer Courtroom, govt director of the Inexperienced Infrastructure Ontario Coalition.

“For individuals who reside in city areas and expertise the impacts of city warmth, it helps to place a visible illustration to one thing that they’ve lived expertise with,” she mentioned.

Courtroom additionally talked about inexperienced roofs and permeable parking heaps as different potential options to chill down the new spots revealed by the map. 

She mentioned the maps are additionally helpful instruments to assist cities form social insurance policies and make choices similar to the place to open cooling centres when temperatures rise to harmful ranges.

“Seeing a map like this and understanding what elements of the town close by would possibly … provide some reduction could be a actual assist and could be a actual lifesaver,” she mentioned.

Based on the town, common temperatures in Ottawa are anticipated to rise by 3.2 levels Celsius over the following three many years, and the common variety of days above 30 C will quadruple to 43 a 12 months. Susceptible residents together with the very younger and outdated, pregnant ladies, individuals with present well being situations, individuals who work outdoors and folks experiencing homelessness are most in danger as temperatures rise.

“Warmth island maps can be utilized to information insurance policies and planning of the constructed setting,” the town mentioned on its web site.

Barnes mentioned Ecology Ottawa and different teams plan to press the town to make {that a} precedence throughout upcoming discussions over Ottawa’s official plan.

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