Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Arizona's Sun Corridor: White roofs can combat urban heat islands, but not without impact on regional hydroclimate

Date:
September 7, 2012
Source:
Arizona State University
Summary:
A team of researchers in Arizona has found that warming resulting from megapolitan expansion is seasonally dependent, with greatest warming occurring during summer and least during winter. Among the most practical ways to combat urbanization-induced warming -- the painting of building's roofs white -- was found to disrupt regional hydroclimate, highlighting the need for evaluation of tradeoffs associated with combating urban heat islands.

A team of researchers from Arizona State University have found that warming resulting from megapolitan expansion is seasonally dependent, with greatest warming occurring during summer and least during winter. Among the most practical ways to combat urbanization-induced warming -- the painting of building's roofs white -- was found to disrupt regional hydroclimate, highlighting the need for evaluation of tradeoffs associated with combating urban heat islands (UHI).

"We found that raising the reflectivity of buildings by painting their roofs white is an effective way of reducing higher average temperatures caused by urban expansion," said Matei Georgescu, an assistant professor in ASU's School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. "However, increased reflectivity also modifies hydroclimatic processes and, in the case of the 'Sun Corridor,' can lead to a significant reduction of rainfall. Our maximum Sun Corridor expansion scenario leads to a 12% reduction in rainfall, averaged across the entire state. Painting roofs white leads to an additional 4% reduction in rainfall."

The research is presented in the paper, "Seasonal hydroclimatic impacts of Sun Corridor expansion," published in the Sept. 7, 2012 issue of Environmental Research Letters. Georgescu, the lead author of the paper, is joined by Alex Mahalov, The Wilhoit Foundation Dean's Distinguished Professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at ASU, and Mohamed Moustaoui, an associate professor in ASU's School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences.

The paper focuses on Arizona's Sun Corridor, the most rapidly growing megapolitan area in the United States. Located in a semi-arid environment, the Sun Corridor is composed of four metropolitan areas: Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott and Nogales. With a population projection expected to exceed 9 million people by 2040, the rapidly expanding megapolitan offers the opportunity to identify tradeoffs focused on sustainable expansion of the built environment.

The authors utilized 2050 projections of Sun Corridor growth developed by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), the regional agency for metropolitan Phoenix that provides long-range and sustainably oriented planning. They conducted continuous multi-year, multi-member, continental scale numerical experiments for several 2050 Sun Corridor growth and adaptation scenarios and compared results with a modern day Sun Corridor representation.

"For a maximum expansion scenario, we find greatest warming to occur during summer, in excess of 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) when averaged over the entire state of Arizona. Warming remains considerable during both spring and fall seasons, approaching 0.9 C. For a minimum expansion scenario, the consistent theme of maximum warming during summer with reduced, although still significant, warming during spring and fall seasons persists," Georgescu added.

Whereas previous research has documented the contribution of cool roofs as an effective UHI mitigation approach, this work emphasizes the need to broadly evaluate impacts by exploring consequences that extend to hydrology and rainfall.

"Truly sustainable development will have to consider impacts extending beyond average temperature," Georgescu explained. "A crucial step in that approach is to identify potential adaptation and mitigation strategies and assess tradeoffs, to ensure that we make smart decisions with minimum damaging consequences."

All three co-authors are affiliated with ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Global Institute of Sustainability.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Arizona State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M Georgescu, A Mahalov, M Moustaoui. Seasonal hydroclimatic impacts of Sun Corridor expansion. Environmental Research Letters, 2012; 7 (3): 034026 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/7/3/034026

Cite This Page:

Arizona State University. "Arizona's Sun Corridor: White roofs can combat urban heat islands, but not without impact on regional hydroclimate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907131636.htm>.
Arizona State University. (2012, September 7). Arizona's Sun Corridor: White roofs can combat urban heat islands, but not without impact on regional hydroclimate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907131636.htm
Arizona State University. "Arizona's Sun Corridor: White roofs can combat urban heat islands, but not without impact on regional hydroclimate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120907131636.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) A likely tornado tears through an eastern Virginia campground, killing three and injuring at least 20. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins