Artist Nickolay Lamm used a thermal imaging camera to learn how a city becomes and stays hot, illustrating the “heat island effect.” This is caused by buildings and asphalt with dark surfaces (which absorb light and release heat), lack of vegetation (which keeps an area cool through evaporative cooling), and car and air conditioners (which release heat).
Temperatures can increase by up to 10°F in urban areas. Lamm went to New York City with a thermal imaging camera to see this effect in action. The inspiration behind this project came after walking around Manhattan in 95°F heat in July.
Lamm’s collection of thermal images are the result of the data he brought back. They have also been interpreted by John Frederick from the University of Chicago. They could help us understand energy consumption and be more prepared for health risks caused by increased heat in urban areas. Click through to see a selection of the images: