By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Think it’s hot where you are? Well, the odds are good it’s likely hotter somewhere else in Baltimore.

A NOAA study is looking for those hot spots, called heat islands, by giving volunteers special thermometers to mount to the outside of their cars.

“They’re going to be driving around the city and mapping temperatures throughout all of Baltimore. They’re going to be compiled all together to produce a very detailed map of the very hottest places in Baltimore,” NOAA researcher David Herring said.

Heat islands are created by buildings, roads, and parking lots.

“Those things absorb more energy from the sun during the day,” said researcher Jeremy Hoffman. “They release that energy back into the air during the late afternoon and evening.”

Last year, a heat map was created for the city of Richmond, where it was 87 degrees in shady neighborhoods and 103 degrees in heat islands.

“We found a 16 degree difference between the coolest and the warmest places, at the same time on the same day,” said Hoffman.

Heat maps can help urban planners create more shade with trees and less heat with reflective surfaces on buildings and roads.

It could also be used to strategically place cooling centers.

Hoffman said the Richmond map was matched against medic calls for heat stroke cases.

“Where we’re seeing the highest amount of heat is where people were getting sick because of the heat,” he added.

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Alex DeMetrick

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