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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Preparatory meteorological modeling and theoretical analysis for a neighborhood-scale cool roof demonstration

  • Author(s): Millstein, D
  • Levinson, R
  • et al.

© 2017 Replacing dark conventional roofs with more reflective “cool” roofs has been proposed as a method to lower urban air temperatures. Many meteorological studies have simulated potential cool roof air temperature reductions. However, economic and logistical challenges make it difficult to perform the large-scale demonstrations needed to verify these model results. This work assesses whether a neighborhood-scale cool roof demonstration could yield an observable air temperature change. We use both an idealized theoretical framework and a meteorological model to estimate the air temperature reduction that could be induced by increasing roof albedo over ~ 1 km2 area of a city. Both the idealized analysis and model indicate that an air temperature reduction could be detected, with the model indicating a reduction of 0.5 °C and the idealized analysis indicating a larger reduction of 1.3 °C. Follow-on modeling is recommended prior to design of a neighborhood-scale demonstration.

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