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Wicked Hot Mystic


The Greater Boston Area is known for its cold winters, snowy city streets, and Nor’easters. We know to budget for salt on our roads, keep warm indoors, and do the “penguin shuffle” to get to the car. Summers, however, are becoming increasingly important to plan for since they are getting longer, hotter, and more humid. We need to understand how it impacts our built environment and the health of people. Surprisingly, extreme heat, sometimes known as the “silent storm of extreme weather” causes more deaths in the US than all other weather hazards combined. As daily temperatures continue to increase in Massachusetts, the Museum of Science, Boston, in partnership with the Resilient Mystic River Collaborative (RMC), Mystic River Watershed Association, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, are focused on building a community of resilience to prepare for a hotter Greater Boston Area within the Mystic River Watershed.

To help better understand where extreme heat and urban heat islands are, the team is conducting a heat mapping campaign called Wicked Hot Mystic this summer to collect real-time ambient temperature data (the air we breathe and feel) in the Mystic River Watershed (click here for map). Data collected by volunteers via cars or bikes will be used to develop a detailed temperature map to identify heat islands and places people can go to cool off in the Mystic watershed. By understanding where the outdoor hot spots are in the Boston area, cities can more accurately assess and adequately plan for the potential health impacts of extreme heat on people.

To do this, volunteer science teams (composed of at least two people: one driver and one navigator) will drive together during hour-long mapping periods at 6:00 am, 3:00 pm and/or 7:00 pm. These volunteer scientists will clip a temperature sensor to their car window to record the ambient air temperature and geospatial data of the surrounding areas. These efforts will provide the cities with high resolution temperature data throughout the entire day and area, which can then be layered with other factors such as tree canopy, surface temperature, income level, elderly population, or emergency room visits. It is important to compare maps of extreme heat “hot spots” in the Boston area with maps of where people are in order to understand what neighborhoods and people are the most impacted.


  1. SIGN UP TO BE A VOLUNTEER SCIENTIST FOR SUMMER 2021! We’ll be mapping the watershed in July and August 2021.This website will be updated with events and information about the project, but if you would like to receive email updates about this project, please sign up here.

  2. COLLECT DATA ON YOUR OWN TIME VIA ISeeChange! There are also other ways to get involved! We’re seeking volunteers to collect data via ISeeChange – on your own schedule, at the location of your choosing.

    ISeeChange is a global online community that uses participant photos to show how climate is changing over time, around the world. Each post is synced with weather and climate data and broadcast to the community to investigate bigger picture climate trends. Over time, community members can track how climate is changing, season to season, year to year, and understand the impacts on daily life.

    t’s easy! Just post your photo of how the heat is affecting you when you’re out and about and you’ll help inform regional climate and social resilience planning. Examples of posts can be how the heat is affecting you, your neighbors, pets, or areas in your community that are hot or cool.

    Sign up for ISeeChange today at https://www.iseechange.org/.

This work is branching off the previous Wicked Hot Boston project, which the Museum of Science and partners completed in 2019. You can find more information about the project, data and final maps here: https://www.mos.org/pes-forum-archive/wickedhotboston



Public Event

Free Event. No Exhibit Halls admission required.