Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Urban Climate Planning

PostedJuly 19, 2019

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LEAD: While today’s temperature in D-C is extreme, cities around the world are generally getting warmer…not only because of a climate change, but because urban infrastructure creates and traps heat.

Randy Atkins: There are ways we can counter the effects of warming in cities…like painting roofs white to reflect heat. But modeling studies by Matei Georgescu, an urban planning expert at Arizona State University, reveal such methods won’t work well everywhere.

Matei Georgescu: Geography matters and so local solutions are just that, they’re local solutions and not one size fits all solutions.

Randy Atkins: For example, those white roofs cause heaters to work harder in the winter. And Georgescu says, here on the east coast, decreasing surface warming in the summer also prevents parcels of moist air from rising.

Matei Georgescu: By preventing the rising of these air parcels you’re going to have less cloud formation and eventually less precipitation.

Randy Atkins: Georgescu says further work is needed to understand such tradeoffs and to customize solutions. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.