Drone Pilot JobsUrban heat island impact study takes flight at Mayo High School

August 4, 2021by helo-10

Rochester, Minn. – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) began the City of Rochester’s urban heat island impact study today at Mayo High School. 

Heat islands are urbanized areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas. 

These higher temperatures are caused by infrastructures, such as roads and buildings, absorbing and re-emitting heat from the sun.

This summer’s series of demonstrative flights are aimed to integrate climate adaptation and environmental justice considerations into drone use.

Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Rochester Lauren Jensen was on-site for the launch and gave more insight into why this drone thermal imaging is needed in the Med City.

“The drone will help us kind of create a baseline of where we’re at today,” said Jensen. “Particularly for those areas of the city with that thermal imaging. But, these are things we track and measure over time. So, in terms of our urban forest and our canopy coverage, we’ve been tracking that for years.”

The drone pilot project will measure temperature differences in multiple parts of the city, as well as areas of environmental justice concern. 

Data collected by the thermal drone will allow the MPCA to help reduce urban heat effects of the sun through information, such as: what kind of infrastructure is needed, if the infrastructure already put in place is doing its job in terms of cooling effects, and how should the City of Rochester prioritize future investments.

The MPCA has expressed hope that the results from this summer’s heat island demonstrative flights will make the case regarding the need for state climate adaptation and resilience funding to improve infrastructure.

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