City of Rochester to use drones to collect data on climate change impacts

Author

Brandon Marshall

Source(s)
ABC News

The City of Rochester and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will conduct a series of drone flights to better understand how higher temperatures caused by climate change affect some of the city’s most densely populated areas.

These areas are known as "urban heat islands" and experience higher temperatures than others due to dense concentrations of buildings and roads that absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat and fewer trees that provide shade.

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Data collected will help identify infrastructure improvements Rochester can make to protect the city from rising temperatures because of climate change. Such improvements could include additional trees, vegetation, green roofs, walkable neighborhoods, and other development strategies. This study builds off a similar drone flight conducted in August 2021. New drones used for this year’s flight have radiometric thermal cameras, which embed temperature readings within pixels and capture more detailed data. Thermal drones, used in previous flights, share relative temperature differences but do not record actual temperatures as part of the photographic data.

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“Reducing the urban heat island effect is critical in our work to protects against the impacts of rising temperatures and climate change because it often has the greatest impact on Minnesota’s low-income residents and communities of color who live in densely populated urban areas,” said Laura Millberg, MPCA climate change resilience coordinator.

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