Say, Can White Roofs Help With Urban Heat Island Effect?

Every once in a while Warmists make a mistake in highlighting that all their caterwauling about ‘climate change’ is beyond overblown

(YaleEnvironment360) Summers in the city can be extremely hot — several degrees hotter than in the surrounding countryside. But recent research indicates that it may not have to be that way. The systematic replacement of dark surfaces with white could lower heat wave maximum temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius or more. And with climate change and continued urbanization set to intensify “urban heat islands,” the case for such aggressive local geoengineering to maintain our cool grows.

The meteorological phenomenon of the urban heat island has been well known since giant cities began to emerge in the 19th century. The materials that comprise most city buildings and roads reflect much less solar radiation – and absorb more – than the vegetation they have replaced. They radiate some of that energy in the form of heat into the surrounding air.

The darker the surface, the more the heating. Fresh asphalt reflects only 4 percent of sunlight compared to as much as 25 percent for natural grassland and up to 90 percent for a white surface such as fresh snow.

Most of the roughly 2 percent of the earth’s land surface covered in urban development suffers from some level of urban heating. New York City averages 1-3 degrees C warmer than the surrounding countryside, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – and as much as 12 degrees warmer during some evenings. The effect is so pervasive that some climate skeptics have seriously claimed that global warming is merely an illusion created by thousands of once-rural meteorological stations becoming surrounded by urban development.

In other words, Skeptics are correct. While the majority of the warming since the end of the Little Ice Age is natural, Mankind does have an influence in the form of the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI), along with land use, and, yes, a small part from the release of greenhouse gasses. What we are doing is way, way less than 50% of the warming.

Climate change researchers adjust for such measurement bias, so that claim does not stand up. Nonetheless, the effect is real and pervasive. So, argues a recent study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, if dark heat-absorbing surfaces are warming our cities, why not negate the effect by installing white roofs and other light-colored surfaces to reflect back the sun’s rays?

Researchers makes stuff up to protect their Warmist funding.

During summer heat waves, when the sun beats down from unclouded skies, the creation of lighter land surfaces “could help to lower extreme temperatures… by up to 2 or 3 degrees Celsius” in much of Europe, North America, and Asia, says Sonia Seneviratne, who studies land-climate dynamics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, and is co-author of the new study. It could save lives, she argues, and the hotter it becomes, the stronger the effect.

Realistically, it’s not a bad idea. It is humorous that they can’t write about something like this without attempting to protect their cult, though.

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20 Responses to “Say, Can White Roofs Help With Urban Heat Island Effect?”

  1. Dana says:

    It’s long been known that lighter colored roofs on buildings reflect away more solar energy, making them easier to cool in the summer. Alas! That also means that they are harder to heat during the winter! I guess that it depends on which is more important to you; I’d guess that white roofs would be a wiser idea in Phoenix than Portland.

    Howsomeever, the first thing that came to my mind was that a white roofed city would present a blinding glare to pilots attempting to land there.

    One of the sales points concrete salesmen try to use when attempting to persuade a builder to use concrete rather than asphalt in parking lots is that with the light grey surface, less lighting is needed at night.

  2. Dana says:

    Pennsylvania experimented with requiring white concrete — a very expensive item, due to the price of white cement — in parapet walls on bridges. I did four bridges that way, and, quite frankly, I didn’t see that much difference at night, though there was a bit more of a difference when the concrete was wet.

    Using a white epoxy-based paint was a wiser idea. It was not only brighter, but the paint protected the surface of the concrete from degradation due to weather and road salts.

  3. Spearwolf says:

    We can’t allow white roofs….that’s Raaacist!!!

  4. Jim says:

    White makes the surface cooler because it absorbs less (and reflects more) heat and radiation. However, the heat has to go somewhere. It gets reflected back into the atmosphere or absorbed somewhere else. Its better you you to wear a white shirt (to stay cooler) and more economical to have a white roof, but the heat still has to go somewhere. It makes little to no difference in the grand scheme of things.

    Concrete absorbs less heat than asphalt and white coloring is for aesthetics.

  5. Zachriel says:

    Jim: However, the heat has to go somewhere. It gets reflected back into the atmosphere or absorbed somewhere else.

    The atmosphere is transparent to visible light, but not to infrared radiation. Black surfaces absorb transparent light, and re-emit as infrared radiation. White surfaces reflect visible light, which passes back through the atmosphere.

    • drowningpuppies says:

      ^THIS from the kiddieZ who stated unequivocally that the only way the Earth could gain or lose heat was radiatively according to the basics physics heat flow.

  6. Jeffery says:

    In other words, Skeptics are correct.

    In what way?

    While the majority of the warming since the end of the Little Ice Age is natural

    Untrue.

    Mankind does have an influence in the form of the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI), along with land use, and, yes, a small part from the release of greenhouse gasses.

    Close but no cigar. Scientific evidence demonstrates that greenhouse gases are the primary cause the rapid warmup over the past century.

    What we are doing is way, way less than 50% of the warming.

    You have zero to support your contention.

    You have a deficit in understanding, which we hope is natural, not man-made (intentional). Are cities adding significant warming to the signal seen globally? No. Not in real warming nor (as we suspect Tony Wuwt and his minions still believe) that urban thermometers give a false reading of warming.

  7. Mike says:

    As Dana pointed out, those same white roofs that keep your house cooler in the summer will probably cause you to burn more fossil fuels in the winter to keep it warm.
    Sod roofs do wonderfully well in providing insulation both summer and winter, but the upkeep is substantially higher, and good luck getting the grass to grow on your A frame!

    • Dana says:

      I’ve seen some of those ‘living roofs’ on shows like Building Off the Grid, and my first question was: in a roof that’s always wet, on an impermeable rubber or plastic layer, how do you avoid mold? And, realistically, what do you do when the roof eventually develops a leak?

  8. Jl says:

    Sorry, J. Skeptics are correct. As shown before, only 11% of surface stations recording devices meet NOAA/NASA own standards. https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/surfacestationsreport_spring09.pdf

  9. Jl says:

    For some reason, we have to keep posting the same thing several times because J doesn’t want to burst his worldview. Even the alarmists are coming to the conclusion that the surface record is contaminated. But as Twain said, “it’s easier to fool a man than to convince him he’s been fooled.” https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/03/02/alarmists-throw-in-the-towel-on-poor-quality-surface-temperature-data-pitch-for-a-new-global-climate-reference-network/

    • drowningpuppies says:

      For some reason, we have to keep posting the same thing several times because J doesn’t want to burst his worldview.

      It’s more fun just to mock the nignorant angry little black boy since he cannot be taken seriously.

      More here should try it.

  10. Jeffery says:

    j,

    You keep telling the same tale. You are the last person on Earth not to believe the globe is warming.

    Sorry, Charlie, but I follow the evidence. For years Tony Wuwt claimed the Earth wasn’t warming since the siting of the thermometers was ALL wrong. Then he gave up after being beaten up by “skeptic” scientists. Now he’s back to claiming there’s no warming?? Even the satellite data shows warming (once Roy Spencer and John Christy corrected their “mistakes”). How do the thermometers bias the satellite data?

  11. Jeffery says:

    Watts Up With That… LOL

    No wonder you’re always wrong. Tony Wuwt… LOL

  12. Jeffery says:

    TEACH practiced a little creative editing:

    The effect is so pervasive that some climate skeptics have seriously claimed that global warming is merely an illusion created by thousands of once-rural meteorological stations becoming surrounded by urban development.
    Climate change researchers adjust for such measurement bias, so that claim does not stand up.

    Then TEACH compounded his perfidy by claiming:

    In other words, Skeptics are correct.

    Um, no. No they are not. Urban warming is real, but it’s not the reason the Earth is rapidly warming.

    Nothing TEACH claims is supported by evidence. jl is even worse.

  13. Hoss says:

    One of my favorites is how they’ll put a recording station on the top of a building in the middle of an urban heat-island, and then act like they’re shocked the temps have went up. As for the rest of those temperatures, a little creative rounding up won’t hurt anything, right? Gotta keep the narrative going…they can almost feel the pleasure of spending all that extra tax money brought in from cap and trade.

    Never in the history of man has so much junk science been taken so seriously.

  14. Jl says:

    Sorry, J, he’s not changing his mind. He said the surface temp record is suspect, a view the alarmists are coming around to, as shown. And the view is that the UHI effect, as detailed by Watts paper (it even has lots of pictures for J.) is causing more warming than would be there without the suspect stations, not that there wouldn’t be any warming. But feel free to refute his findings, J

  15. Jl says:

    “WUWT LOL….”. That’s the best you can do? Ladies and gentlemen, a superb scientific take-down by our resident climate astrologist. Notice all the references and data he uses to back up his assertion……

  16. Zachriel says:

    Hoss: But feel free to refute his findings

    Sure. See Wickham et al., Influence of Urban Heating on the Global Temperature Land Average using Rural Sites Identified from MODIS Classifications, Geoinformatics & Geostatistics 2013.

    Jl: He said the surface temp record is suspect

    Satellite radiology reveals a similar trend to the surface data.

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