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Urban Heat Island Community Science Campaign 2020 with NOAA

Citizen Science for Climate Action 


The City of San José, in collaboration with Santa Clara University and City of Santa Clara, is seeking volunteers to help collect environmental data about the hottest and coolest places in our region during an upcoming heat wave this summer.


Volunteers will collect data during the joint one-day heat mapping campaign that will be used to develop temperature maps of the City of Santa Clara and the City of San José (see Portland example) and help address heat-related vulnerabilities across the region. 

If you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or would like to learn more, please respond to this Volunteer Interest Form.

To learn more the Urban Heat Island Campaign, visit National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and CAPA Strategies Heat Watch.

For more information, contact


Frequently Asked Questions

1.     What will volunteers do?

Volunteers are needed to drive [or for those hearty enough, ride a bicycle] along predetermined routes in the Santa Clara/San Jose area over three separate one-hour periods during a hot day.

Volunteers will use a simple data-collection device attached to the vehicle. You can also volunteer as a navigator and help direct drivers’ turns along their route. Drivers will need to cover the same route for all three shifts.

2.     Are there any requirements to volunteer?

Drivers will need a valid driver’s license, auto insurance (not necessary for bicyclists), and access to a vehicle (or bicycle). In addition to the three hours of data collection, volunteers will first be asked to review a video, complete a knowledge-check, and participate in a short online training session and follow up discussion.

Based on previous campaigns, volunteers spend an average of 4.5 hours over three weeks, though the majority of time (~3.5 hours) will occur on the selected campaign day.

3.     On what day will the heat mapping campaign occur?

That will depend on the weather forecast. Heat mapping is best done on a day with clear skies and hot temperatures. Using historical weather patterns, and support from the National Weather Service, the target campaign date for Santa Clara and San José is August 26th, 2020.

While weather does change, this selected campaign date will be confirmed about one week prior, as forecasts become more reliable. Because we have to wait for the heat—and the fact that summer is such a busy time—we need to assemble an “on-call” roster of volunteers—which means that we’ll want more people signing up than we need.

4.     How will I know if I’m confirmed as a volunteer?

We will confirm your participation about one week prior to the campaign, when we finalize the date. Please note that signing up does not commit you to the project, rather the process will begin by building out a roster of potential volunteers, and confirmation will occur about one week in advance.

5.     What safety precautions are you taking during COVID-19?

Please note that due to COVID-19 the campaign will incorporate new health and safety measures including video training, individually wrapped equipment, and contactless equipment pick-up and drop-off.