CitSciOzOnline EMCR: Urban Heat Island Effect and Citizen Science – Dr Mary Andamon
Investigating thermal comfort and energy impact through microclimate monitoring – a citizen science approach
The impact of extreme heat on human health, productivity, energy, and infrastructure is well documented. Although Australia has always had heatwaves, hot days, and bushfires, climate change is increasing the risk of frequent and longer heatwaves and more extremely hot days. Heat stress related to high temperatures leads to increased rates of mortality and morbidity. Most studies on heat-related mortality and morbidity generally use temperatures from weather stations that do not consider the urban heat island (UHI) effect, leading to inaccurate predictions. The deficiency of large-scale experimental studies on urban microclimate can mainly be attributed to the complexity and variability of outdoor environments which would require extensive resources for scientific measurement. Citizen science enabled a cost-effective way of collecting microclimate data for urban heat island mitigation and adaptation. The interaction of building scientists with citizen scientists allows for public education and engagement in science and built environment research.
Dr. Mary Myla Andamon is a Senior Lecturer in Construction Management at the School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University. As a building science researcher, Myla works on a range of research and consulting projects on indoor environmental quality, indoor/outdoor thermal comfort, urban microclimate, building environmental monitoring and performance assessments, building modeling and simulations, and building energy efficiency. Currently, Myla is working on research projects which involve the assessment of indoor air quality in schools and aged-care facilities. Myla is also the chief investigator in a citizen science project on the measurement of urban heat island and local climate change. Involving over 1200 citizen scientists from 22 local councils across Australia, the project empowers citizen scientists by including them in the research process and increasing scientific literacy and understanding of scientific methods in urban climate research.