Wyden, Merkley: NOAA Selects OMSI as Regional/National Heat Monitoring Center

Washington D.C.— U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland will be NOAA’s Pacific Northwest hub for the Center for Collaborative Heat Monitoring, gathering local temperature data to support heat resilience in Oregon and throughout the country. 

“As the climate crisis worsens, heat is becoming an even more grave concern for vulnerable Oregonians without air conditioning as well as farmers dealing with drought and communities facing wildfires,” Wyden said. “We need solid, local data that help inform solutions. Ensuring accurate, real-time information from Oregon’s vital ecosystems and climates are included will give a broader picture of what we are challenged with as a state, region and nation.”   

“As climate chaos intensifies, we must be prepared for extreme heat events across the state,” said Merkley. “The data that OMSI and their research partners collect will allow us to see the full picture of how severe heat impacts our communities, ecosystems, and infrastructure. Equipped with local data produced by this project, we can continue to protect Oregonians from the dangerous consequences of soaring temperatures and build resilience in our communities.” 

“Heat is a growing health hazard around the world; tracking local heat data will be key for communities to advance their resilience strategies. Through this project, OMSI will work with at least nine groups, both urban and rural, to collect heat data to inform local, regional, and federal climate action. This effort leverages OMSI as a convener, so communities in the Pacific Northwest and nationwide can combine assets toward healthier, more equitable futures,” said Marcie Benne, Director of Engagement Research and Advancement.       

The Center for Collaborative Heat Monitoring, based at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C, will receive $2.3 million in funding to help communities observe, monitor and evaluate factors influencing heat risk at a local scale. In addition to OMSI and the Museum of Life and Science, the center will include the Arizona Science Center, and the Museum of Science in Boston.