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Constructed ClimatesA Primer on Urban Environments$
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William G. Wilson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226901459

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226901473.001.0001

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Shading and Cooling in City Climates

Shading and Cooling in City Climates

(p.28) Chapter 2 Shading and Cooling in City Climates
Constructed Climates

William G. Wilson

University of Chicago Press

The heating of impervious surfaces generally matches and confirms the scale of urban heat island warming, and also matches the amount of heat that evaporates a light rain. The chapter examines the role urban vegetation plays in cooling cities and treating storm water, and discusses whether any significant energy reduction and carbon sequestration benefits can be expected. Comparing the cooling potential of a tree shows that a tree just can't transpire enough water to cool these high thermal mass surfaces. Further, trees experiencing realistic urban scenarios have an even bigger challenge as their transpiration systems shut down due to high heat. Simply painting the cement and asphalt surfaces white, on the other hand, could greatly change how much heat they absorb. Surprisingly, lawns have a higher potential than trees for cooling via transpiration, and interesting approaches combine parking lots with grass.

Keywords:   urban heat islands, vegetation, rainfall patterns, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, stomatal conductance

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