Bulletins

The Biden administration launches new extreme heat site

Heat.gov is a new resource full of maps and data for decision-makers looking to beat the ever-increasing heat.

Sun on dark orange sky

Heat, which is the country’s leading weather-related cause of death, is only expected to worsen with climate change.

Photo: Lenstravelier/Unsplash

As the Pacific Northwest gears up for searing temperatures for the second year in a row, the Biden administration is rolling out a site to help residents there and across the country prepare for a hotter, more dangerous future.


The site, Heat.gov, is set up to “provide the public and decision-makers with clear, timely and science-based information to understand and reduce the health risks of extreme heat,” according to a press release. With climate change making heat waves more common and intense, there's never been a more crucial time to share information that can help decision-makers put together plans to keep people safe.

The website has been in the works at least since the start of the Biden administration, according to Rick Spinrad, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It emerged as one of the priorities of the president’s National Climate Task Force and its Interagency Working Group on Extreme Heat.

Heat.gov is geared toward a wide range of decision-makers, from companies to local governments to individuals, Spinrad told Protocol, “whether it's a mom trying to decide whether it's safe for kids to play outside, or a construction foreman trying to decide if it's OK for their workers to be out on the job or a public works manager trying to figure out when road repairs can be undertaken.”

The data included is open access, which is designed to help community-level decision-makers integrate it into their own work. The website was created by the National Integrated Heat Health Information System, which is a NOAA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaboration aimed at heat resilience.

Heat.gov prominently features a counter of how many people in the U.S. are living under a heat warning on any given day (more than 39 million at the time of the site’s launch). It serves as a repository for existing data from across multiple agencies but also features new resources. For instance, the agencies created a heat equity mapper using NIHHIS data on urban heat islands, which also launched Tuesday and seeks to answer the question of whether certain parts of a city get hotter than others.

Heat causes roughly 700 deaths per year in the U.S., making it the deadliest form of extreme weather. And it's only going to worsen with climate change. This summer — which has already seen heat waves roil every region of the U.S. — could easily be the coolest for the rest of our lifetimes, Spinrad said.

The impacts of extreme heat accrue disproportionately in Native American and Black communities, according to the CDC. Indeed, research has shown that neighborhoods subject to redlining — a racist zoning practice that discriminates against communities of colors — are up to 12 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than their non-redlined counterparts. Those living in the urban core or in very rural environments are also more impacted by hot weather. Given that the Biden administration wants 40% of all federal funds to benefit communities on the front lines of environmental justice, the heat equity mapper could provide a new avenue to ensure those targets are met when it comes to keeping places cool.

Other agencies that have partnered in the project also include the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Veterans Administration and the National Park Service. Heat.gov relies on the geographic information systems provider Esri for the site’s underlying technology.

While the site today is a fairly standard government site, Spinrad said he could imagine “added value service providers” using Heat.gov’s data to create an app or other specialized resource for heat data. This is reminiscent of how companies like AccuWeather have used and built upon NOAA’s fundamental weather forecast in the past.

Latest Bulletins

Block reported second-quarter earnings that just topped analysts’ estimates, but shares fell as investors digested the effect of the macroeconomic environment on the company’s core payments businesses. Bitcoin volume also dragged on total revenue.

Keep Reading Show less

Meta announced Thursday it had banned Cyber Front Z, a pro-Russia troll group that purported to mobilize harassment by supporters of Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine through a public Telegram channel.

Keep Reading Show less

Coinbase said Thursday that it has partnered with BlackRock to give the world’s biggest asset manager’s clients access to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Keep Reading Show less

Workers at Blizzard Albany, a subsidiary of game publisher Activision Blizzard formerly known as the studio Vicarious Visions that works on the popular Diablo franchise, said on Wednesday that studio management plans to fight their decision to unionize with the Communications Workers of America.

Keep Reading Show less

Binance co-founder Yi He will take over Binance Labs, the crypto powerhouse’s multibillion-dollar venture capital arm, the company said Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less

While the $280 billion Chips Act is largely focused on bolstering the U.S. semiconductor industry, it could also be a game changer for carbon dioxide removal. Buried within the sprawling bill is an authorization for research into the technology that, while not proven at scale, could nevertheless play an important role in addressing climate change.

Keep Reading Show less

A new Senate bill would give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission authority over the markets for bitcoin and ether, the two largest cryptocurrencies.

Keep Reading Show less

Robinhood said Tuesday that it was cutting more jobs as CEO Vlad Tenev acknowledged that the company got 2022 market trends wrong.

Keep Reading Show less

PayPal reported second-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates, adding hopes for investors that the payments giant was seeing a bounce-back from its previous quarter, when economic jitters wiped out the company's pandemic gains.

Keep Reading Show less

Hackers stole nearly $200 million in cryptocurrency after the Nomad crypto bridge protocol was breached.

Keep Reading Show less

Robinhood has been fined $30 million by New York's top financial regulators over alleged shortcomings in the company's anti-money laundering and cybersecurity practices.

Keep Reading Show less

Real estate iBuyer Opendoor has settled charges with the FTC, agreeing to pay $62 million and cease practices the FTC called "deceptive."

Keep Reading Show less

Big Tech is trying to save college affirmative action. A slew of tech companies, including Meta, Google and Apple, filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday signaling support for affirmative action programs at Harvard.

Keep Reading Show less

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is about to do something it hasn’t done in years: certify the design for a brand new reactor.

Keep Reading Show less

The SEC has filed charges against 11 people involved in an international "crypto pyramid and Ponzi scheme" that raised more than $300 million from millions of investors.

Keep Reading Show less

A bet on banking doesn't seem to have saved troubled fintech LendUp. Parent company LendUp Global has reportedly begun liquidating assets, including its neobank subsdiary, through an assignment for the benefit of creditors, a quieter alternative to a public bankruptcy.

Keep Reading Show less

After admonishing crypto lender Voyager Digital for "false and misleading" statements on the subject, the FDIC said banks must ensure that crypto firms they partner with are clear about whether customer deposits are insured.

Keep Reading Show less

The ad market is starting to get very rocky: Roku warned investors about a “significant slowdown in TV advertising spend” as it reported its second-quarter earnings Thursday.

Keep Reading Show less

Intel issued a grim quarterly report card Thursday, telling investors that the company’s ever-important data center and AI business revenue declined 16% to $4.6 billion.

Keep Reading Show less

What a difference two weeks and a name change makes: Sen. Joe Manchin left the Build Back Better Act for dead (twice). But late Wednesday, the West Virginia senator and Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said they reached an agreement to spend $369 billion to turn the climate tide. It's nowhere near enough funding to save the planet, but it will help get clean energy tech deployed more rapidly and inch the U.S. closer to meeting President Joe Biden's climate goals.

Keep Reading Show less

Sens. Dick Durbin and Roger Marshall will propose a bill as early as this week targeting credit card fees, the Wall Street Journal reports. The proposed legislation would be similar to the 2011 Durbin amendment, which capped fees debit card processing companies could charge.

Keep Reading Show less

TikTok announced on Wednesday that it’s working on new transparency tools for researchers. By the end of the year, TikTok says “selected researchers” will have access to APIs that allow them to conduct tests and study trends using anonymized data sets. Though the move will help address mounting concerns in the U.S. over TikTok’s data security, it likely comes in response to the EU's forthcoming Digital Services Act, which contains mandates for research access.

Keep Reading Show less

The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against Meta and Within, the startup behind the VR fitness app Supernatural. The agency is asking a federal court for a preliminary injunction to stop the two companies from proceeding with an acquisition, alleging the deal would limit competition.

Keep Reading Show less

The U.S. Senate voted 64-33 Wednesday to approve a $280 billion piece of legislation that will dole out a batch of chip manufacturing subsidies and research funding that’s designed to return chip production to the U.S. in some meaningful fashion.

Keep Reading Show less

Google is buying the Thompson Center, a famed building housing government offices in downtown Chicago, for $105 million. The building will be renovated and redeveloped into a headquarters for Google's employees.

Keep Reading Show less
Bulletins