Environment

A landmark study of Louisville’s urban heat island was released last month, and it offers tailored recommendations for the city’s neighborhoods to combat the phenomenon.

During an hour-long news special Monday, WFPL environment reporter Erica Peterson led a discussion on Louisville’s urban heat island, other local effects of climate change and what steps the city could take to keep residents safe and healthy.

Listen in the audio player above.

Our guests were:

  • Study author Dr. Brian Stone of Georgia Tech
  • Maria Koetter, Louisville Office of Sustainability
  • Sarah Lynn Cunningham, Louisville Climate Action Network

In Louisville, as in many cities, heavily urban areas are warmer than surrounding rural ones because they lack tree canopy cover and have an abundance of paved surfaces.

“It’s a phenomenon you can really observe in real-time if you have a thermometer in your car,” said Stone. “If you work downtown in Louisville and you drive out away from the city, you will see the temperature drop the farther you drive.”

Stone said heat islands are commonplace and have been recognized for hundreds of years. What’s unique to Louisville is the rate at which the heat island is growing over time.

“Louisville is warming more rapidly — over the last several decades — than any other city,” he said.

Hear the entire discussion in the player above.

Jonese Franklin is WFPL's Digital Editor.