This interactive map shows urban heat islands in California as measured by the Urban Heat Island Index. The urban heat islands are color coded according to their intensity, with green representing the smallest effect and red to white representing the greatest intensity. The map legend shows the range of intensity.
Downloading the Map
The map requires that you have installed the free Google Earth application.
Urban Heat Island Map (Download KMZ 15 MB)
Once the map is open, click on urban areas to view the urban heat island effect by census tract. It will show the population by census tract, the heat island effect calculated in degree hours per day (Celsius), and the average daily temperature increases (Fahrenheit).
Download All Data Files (Zip File, 266.9 MB)
How the Index is Calculated
The Urban Heat Island Index is calculated as a temperature differential over time between an urban census tract and nearby upwind rural reference points at a height of two meters above ground level, where people experience heat.
The index is reported in degree-hours per day on a Celsius scale – a measure of heat intensity over time. An increase of one degree over an eight hour period would equal eight degree-hours, as would an increase of two degrees over a four-hour period.
The interactive map also shows the urban heat island effect as an average daily temperature increase in degrees Fahrenheit.