A wedge strategy for mitigation of urban warming in future climate scenarios
Abstract. Heat stress is one of the most severe climate threats to human society in a future warmer world. The situation is further exacerbated in urban areas by urban heat islands (UHIs). Because the majority of world's population is projected to live in cities, there is a pressing need to find effective solutions for the heat stress problem. We use a climate model to investigate the effectiveness of various urban heat mitigation strategies: cool roofs, street vegetation, green roofs, and reflective pavement. Our results show that by adopting highly reflective roofs, almost all the cities in the United States and southern Canada are transformed into
white oases – cold islands caused by cool roofs at midday, with an average oasis effect of −3.4 K in the summer for the period 2071–2100, which offsets approximately 80 % of the greenhouse gas (GHG) warming projected for the same period under the RCP4.5 scenario. A UHI mitigation wedge consisting of cool roofs, street vegetation, and reflective pavement has the potential to eliminate the daytime UHI plus the GHG warming.