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Mapping the Heat: Surface Temperatures in the MAPC Region

August 21, 2015 – 11:36 am |

Hot enough for ya? It probably depends on where you’re standing.
So far this summer, the weather station at Logan Airport has logged 3 days of air temperature above 90 degrees. Over the past 10 years, …

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Planning »

Mapping the Heat: Surface Temperatures in the MAPC Region

August 21, 2015 – 11:36 am |

Hot enough for ya? It probably depends on where you’re standing.

So far this summer, the weather station at Logan Airport has logged 3 days of air temperature above 90 degrees. Over the past 10 years, at least five days with highs above 90 degrees have been recorded at Logan each summer. As the climate changes over the coming decades, we can expect to endure more of these hot days and for hot days to string into longer heat waves. Such periods of high heat can be dangerous, even deadly, for our region’s most vulnerable residents, such as the elderly, those living alone, children, people with pre-existing health conditions, and the poor.



As you’ve surely noticed, some areas in the city feel much hotter than others. Black rooftops and paved surfaces can cause land surface temperature to rise far higher than the air temperature.  And those same surfaces can trap the heat in the city for longer, meaning that the night time air temperature does not lower enough to give residents a needed break from the heat.

Street trees, vegetation, rivers, and streams, on the other hand, contribute a cooling effect. Green infrastructure such as green or white roofs can further reduce the problem of high urban heat, which could in turn save lives.



A new set of maps created using satellite imagery shows the variation in land surface temperature across the MAPC region. The maps were created from two images taken in August of 2010, on a day when the Logan weather station logged a high of 92 degrees. In some spots on this map, the surface reaches 140 degrees—literally hot enough to fry an egg.  Clearly, the map shows that more urban areas are generally hotter than less densely populated areas. However, hot spots are not limited to the urban core. Suburban commercial centers with large black roofs and large parking lots, such as the complex along Route 9 in Framingham, also light up the map as hot spots.



The maps also reveal that even within the urban core, parks, greenways, and vegetated streetscapes contribute to cooler land surface temperatures. A quick comparison of the land surface temperature of the Back Bay portion of Commonwealth Avenue to the highly impervious sections of the same roadway that snake through Allston shows how much cooler a linear park can make a stretch of pavement. Incorporating parks and green spaces into the urban environment will only become more important as our region grows hotter.

MAPC Fights Youth Violence with Basketball

July 29, 2015 – 9:54 am |

There are few things that go together quite as well as basketball and summertime – clean feet and warm socks, nothing to do and Sunday afternoons, and, of course, MAPC and regional collaboration. Given this …

MAPC’s Daily Notifications Help Municipalities Reduce Electricity Bills

July 27, 2015 – 4:27 pm |

This summer, MAPC is piloting a notification program that can help municipalities save big on their electricity accounts by reducing capacity charges. Capacity charges can constitute as much as 20-30% of municipal electricity costs, and …

Boston Greenbelt Walk

June 16, 2015 – 1:15 pm |

Over 40 participants joined MAPC and the Free Walkers, a long-distance walking group, for a walk along part of the Boston Greenbelt Trail. The Trail is a proposed 90-mile walking trail circling Boston that would …

Putting Legacy First: Planning for the Boston 2024 Olympics

June 9, 2015 – 10:55 am |

Quick links: Executive Summary, Full Report
Boston’s Olympic bid has the potential to shape the region for years to come. Our new report, issued jointly with the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance and Transportation for Massachusetts, urges …

Metro Mayors Commit to Climate Change Preparedness

May 20, 2015 – 4:27 pm |

On May 13, 2015, MAPC hosted an unprecedented Climate Preparedness Summit at UMass Boston in partnership with the City of Boston and Mayor Martin Walsh. The historic event convened the mayors and managers of the …

Staying (stair)well

April 17, 2015 – 2:39 pm |

In a fierce, bareknuckle clash of the titans, MAPC competed last week to see which floor could climb the most stairs. Honor was at stake. So was a Top Banana trophy.
Losing. Was. Not. An. Option.
The …

“The Spirit of Massachusetts”

March 31, 2015 – 9:38 am |

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is known for many things; our universities, sports teams, even our unique driving style. Occasionally, the state will adopt an emblem as an official state symbol. For example, we have an …

Nine Years of Community Safety

March 24, 2015 – 12:24 pm |

On March 17th, legislators, mayors, community advocates, law enforcement officials, and youth program participants from across the state gathered in Nurses Hall of the Massachusetts State House for the ninth annual Community Safety Day on …

Winter Council Meeting: Budgeting Transportation

March 12, 2015 – 9:49 am |

Transportation was at the center of discussion at MAPC’s February 25th Council Meeting – as it has been throughout Greater Boston this winter.
Karl Quackenbush, Executive Director of the Central Transportation Planning Staff at the Boston …

Making Neighborhoods Healthier: MAPC’s Model HIA Report

February 17, 2015 – 11:24 am |
Making Neighborhoods Healthier: MAPC’s Model HIA Report

We are very happy to announce that The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and MAPC Health Impact Assessment (HIA) for the Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund (HNEF) has been recognized by the Society of Practitioners of …