20 September 2012 – From Arizona State University ASU News: A team of researchers from Arizona State University 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 urbanisation-induced warming – the painting of buildings’ 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 percent reduction in rainfall, averaged across the entire state. Painting roofs white leads to an additional 4 percent reduction in rainfall.”

The research is presented in the paper, “Seasonal hydroclimatic impacts of Sun Corridor expansion,”

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