The Heat is On

Understanding the Effect of Heat Islands in Small Cities, Rural Communities and Agriculture

Chat Transcript


We have all heard of urban heat islands and the effect that urban surfaces can have on localized climate, but what about the effect that climate change has on smaller cities, rural communities, and agriculture? We bring together Dr. Sandip Pal, professor and researcher at Texas Tech University; Robert Genrty, a science teacher at Frenship High School in West Texas; and Dr. Ken Lege, Cotton Development Specialist at Phytogen Cottonseed, to discuss the role heat islands and climate change play in the cities of West Texas and the agriculture industry of the United States. They also discuss ways to help students understand the science of climate change using real-world, hands-on investigations.


Robert Gentry Science Teacher | Frenship High School in Frenship, TX

Robert Gentry is a former animal trainer and biologist turned high school science teacher. Before that, he was a meteorologist in the US Air Force. He has been teaching environmental science for 3 years at Frenship High School. He has bachelor's degrees in marine biology and meteorology and an M.B.A. Robert will begin pursuing a Ph.D. in aquatic ecology in the fall.

Dr. Ken Lege Cotton Development Specialist | Phytogen Cottonseed

Dr. Lege is a graduate of Sam Houston State University and Texas A&M University and began his career as the Extension Cotton Specialist for Clemson University. He has since served in numerous research and commercial roles with various cottonseed and biotechnology companies. His areas of expertise include variety characterization, trait development (biotech and native traits), water use efficiency, and physiology of cotton across the U.S.


Dr. Sandip Pal Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Sciences | Texas Tech University

Sandip Pal is an Atmospheric Scientist in the Department of Geosciences. His research expertise includes boundary layer meteorology, biosphere-atmosphere interaction with an emphasis on carbon cycle science, and lidar remote sensing. He earned his Ph.D. (magna cum laude) in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany in Feb 2009. He is the author and co-author of 52 high-impact peer-reviewed journal articles.

Notes and Resources:

Texas Mesonet - A statewide earth observation data collection network that provides complete meteorological data. Mesonet is service available in most US states. Google Mesonet + STATE to find yours.

"The heat from Center City’s buildings and streets might be giving the rains a little extra juice" - The Philadelphia Inquirer article featuring Dr. Pal's research on urban heat and precipitation

"Sandip Pal Studying Urban Heat's Effects on Weather in Smaller Cities" - Texas Tech Today article about Dr. Pal's research


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