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Climate 2018, 6(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6020019

The Effect of Increasing Surface Albedo on Urban Climate and Air Quality: A Detailed Study for Sacramento, Houston, and Chicago

Heat Island Group, Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Concordia University, Montreal, QC H3G 1M8, Canada
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Received: 28 January 2018 / Revised: 15 March 2018 / Accepted: 15 March 2018 / Published: 21 March 2018
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Abstract

Increasing surface reflectivity in urban areas can decrease ambient temperature, resulting in reducing photochemical reaction rates, reducing cooling energy demands and thus improving air quality and human health. The weather research and forecasting model with chemistry (WRF-Chem) is coupled with the multi-layer of the urban canopy model (ML-UCM) to investigate the effects of surface modification on urban climate in a two-way nested approach over North America focusing on Sacramento, Houston, and Chicago during the 2011 heat wave period. This approach decreases the uncertainties associated with scale separation and grid resolution and equip us with an integrated simulation setup to capture the full impacts of meteorological and photochemical reactions. WRF-ChemV3.6.1 simulated the diurnal variation of air temperature reasonably well, overpredicted wind speed and dew point temperature, underpredicted relative humidity, overpredicted ozone and nitrogen dioxide concentrations, and underpredicted fine particular matters (PM2.5). The performance of PM2.5 is a combination of overprediction of particulate sulfate and underprediction of particulate nitrate and organic carbon. Increasing the surface albedo of roofs, walls, and pavements from 0.2 to 0.65, 0.60, and 0.45, respectively, resulted in a decrease in air temperature by 2.3 °C in urban areas and 0.7 °C in suburban areas; a slight increase in wind speed; an increase in relative humidity (3%) and dew point temperature (0.3 °C); a decrease of PM2.5 and O3 concentrations by 2.7 µg/m3 and 6.3 ppb in urban areas and 1.4 µg/m3 and 2.5 ppb in suburban areas, respectively; minimal changes in PM2.5 subspecies; and a decrease of nitrogen dioxide (1 ppb) in urban areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: WRF-Chem; urban climate; air quality; urban heat island; surface albedo WRF-Chem; urban climate; air quality; urban heat island; surface albedo
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Jandaghian, Z.; Akbari, H. The Effect of Increasing Surface Albedo on Urban Climate and Air Quality: A Detailed Study for Sacramento, Houston, and Chicago. Climate 2018, 6, 19.

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