Dallas Study Identifies Extreme Heat Islands

Construction worker taking a break in the shade
Construction worker taking a break in the shade | Image by Ascent/PKS Media Inc./Getty Images

A new study warns that extreme heat could affect certain Dallas neighborhoods by as much as up to 10 degrees.

The recent study, released by the City of Dallas in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and CAPA Strategies, pinpointed neighborhoods in Dallas that experience more drastic heat than others.

Neighborhoods such as Bishop Arts District, Medical District, Uptown, Downtown, Oak Lawn, and West Dallas were deemed heat islands.

“We know that extreme heat is the most deadly of all natural disasters and that its impacts are not evenly distributed across people and places. Location matters. Those who live in historically disinvested neighborhoods, with limited access to resources and greenspace, and those struggling with additional health concerns are all at greater risk when it comes to the impacts of extreme heat,” reads the study.

Urban areas are prone to becoming heat islands due to the higher concentration of buildings and infrastructure and lower concentration of parks. Typically, the buildings absorb the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes. When a city is limited in greenery, it holds more heat than neighboring cities with more green space.

The study conducted in August 2023 reported that on August 5, 2023, the hottest temperature in Dallas was 110.1 degrees, making it ten degrees higher than other areas in the city.

The study used two different measurements: traverse points (TP) and area-wide (AW) models. “Traverse point maps present the near-surface air temperature measurements gathered during the campaign, filtered to usable data for modeling. Area-wide maps present high-resolution models of temperature across the study area based on the traverse points and Sentinel-2 spectral imagery.”

On average, between 6 and 7 a.m., the highest temperature in Dallas, according to TP maps, was 89.7 degrees, while the lowest was 81.9 degrees. According to AW maps, the high was 89.3 degrees, and the low was 82.1.

Comparatively, in the afternoon, between 3 and 4 p.m., the highest temperature, according to TP maps, was 110.1 degrees, with the lowest being 100.9 degrees. According to AW maps, the high was 109.5 degrees, and the low was 101.3.

Come nightfall, between 7 and 8 p.m., the highest temperature, according to TP maps, was 105.6 degrees, while the lowest was 95.6 degrees. According to AW maps, the high was 105.2 degrees, and the low was 95.7.

Heat mapping studies such as this are imperative to the development of cities as they guide city planners on where to introduce more natural spaces or cooling paving technology in efforts to combat the heat.

While Texans are used to the hot weather, temps seems to just be getting hotter. The period from October 2022 to October 2023 consisted of the hottest 12-month span in recorded history, per Climate Central, a non-profit science and news organization covering energy and climate topics.

“This marks the hottest year-long period in recorded history,” the organization said in a press release. “During this span, more than 500 million people in 200 cities experienced streaks of extreme heat, with at least five days of daily temperatures in the 99th percentile compared to 30-year norms.”

Throughout that 12-month period, Dallas experienced 14 consecutive days of extreme heat, per the release.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article