People in Los Angeles have been soaking up the cool rainy days but sunny days are right around the corner, and if the recent weather trends continue, the residents may be in for a hell-ish summer once again this year.
The good news is that the city officials have decided to tackle climate change in a unique way – and it involves painting the streets white to reflect off some of the sunlight.
Record-Breaking Temperatures in California
California observed record-breaking temperatures over the Labor Day weekend as the entire state was swept by a massive heatwave which exacerbated the Los Angeles wildfire, making it the city’s worst tragedy in decades.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the erratic weather patterns being observed around the globe have something to do with global warming which is quickly raising the Earth’s temperature.
For a city like LA, which is already quite warm all year-round to begin with, this could become a huge problem if no preventive action is taken.
Thankfully, the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, has come up with a unique plan to keep the city cool during the blazing summer heat. The radical plan, which is already in full swing, involves painting the entire city white, which could help LA cool down by three degrees over the next twenty years.
Los Angeles is prone to overheating, like most busy cities, due to the urban heat island effect – which simply means that the urban cities are often higher in temperature than their surrounding rural areas, and even though the difference is only worth a few degrees Fahrenheit, it can still make a huge difference in power consumption.
Painting the City White
We all know the basic science: wear a white shirt on a hot, sunny day and you’ll feel noticeably cooler than if you were in a black shirt, because dark colors absorb heat while the lighter shades reflect it; the same theory applies to everything else – including cities like Los Angeles. With more than a million people packed into one small city, the heat buildup in LA is much greater than any other big city in the U.S.
On a regular day, the temperatures are almost 5 degrees higher than the surrounding rural areas, and even the small difference can turn a normal day into an unbearably hot one. Temperature rise in heavily-populated cities can be particularly dangerous since it can trigger deadly heat waves, risking public health.
To combat the rising temperatures in LA, the officials have launched a ‘cool’ effort which involves giving the city a coat of a grayish-white paint called CoolSeal which will have a drastic effect in curbing the city’s sweltering heat and bringing the temperatures down by a whopping 10 degrees – move over black asphalt.
The genius trick was first adopted by engineers at military air bases who used it to keep the spy planes cool. The heat reduction eventually helped them escape detection from infrared cameras which rely solely on heat in order to detect an object.
LA Needs More Than Just Paint
The new white streets of Los Angeles won’t just make summers more bearable for the residents but will also help cut down power consumption, helping the government save millions of dollars annually. Along with extremely hot weather, LA is also suffering from air pollution that comes with it.
Cities tend to become more polluted in summer as the car exhaust is turned into smog because of the weather which affects the air quality and leads to a host of health conditions like asthma and respiratory diseases. The Mayor hopes that the newly-painted streets curb the city’s air pollution problem along with reducing average temperatures.
Although the painting project is a great initiative to combat climate change, Los Angeles will have to paint more than just a few streets to observe a significant change in the weather. The mayor says that he plans on launching a new project of planting more trees for shade as well as installing reflective roofs to keep houses cool, thereby reducing power consumption.
Garcetti says that the battle against climate change should be a joint effect that ever global leader should participate in. Global warming is an urgent challenge that no one person can tackle alone, he added.