Sensing Thermal Extremes in Buffalo, New York

Extreme temperature events cause greater mortality rates than all other weather-related events. Not everyone who lives in a city experiences thermal extremes in the same way. Variations in micro-climate conditions among city neighborhoods can be greater than between a city and its surroundings. Economic constraints, health conditions and other socio-economic factors can modify a person’s thermal comfort and ability to cope with thermal extremes. Across the U.S., low income communities of color tend to live in hotter communities and experience greater risk of related health impacts. Identifying areas of cities where the built environment is putting people who are sensitive to heat-related health and economic impacts at risk is crucial for urban climate resilience.


Weather Station Network


Network of weather stations across Buffalo — temperature variation is driven by conditions of the built environment


Weather stations log temperature and humidity every five minutes

Students of urban planning and geography learning to build weather stations


The Smart & Connected Management of Thermal Extremes project brings together managers from energy, health, transportation and other sectors to address problems associated with heat and cold. Our vision for thermally-comfortable communities includes Thermal Equity Residents – particularly low income and traditionally disenfranchised community members – can afford to successfully adapt to extreme temperature events; Proactive Planning: Residents are proactively protected against heat and cold-related impacts to their well-being and quality of life and Thermal Learning Networks: A system of professions facilitates an intra and inter-city network of local government agencies, residents, and universities to institutionalize the co-creation and exchange of knowledge generated through concrete interventions and long-term monitoring for the efficacy of outcomes. This is a collaboration with Erie County, Arizona State University and City of Tempe, Arizona.

Discussing emergency response to thermal vulnerabilities in Erie County

Discussing emergency response to thermal vulnerabilities in Erie County

Discussing vulnerabilities in building energy systems

Discussing vulnerabilities in building energy systems