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Environmental Research Letters

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Climate change mitigation, Urban heat island, Microclimatology, Asphalt Pavements -- Environmental aspects


The urban heat island impacts the thermal comfort of pedestrians in cities. In this paper, the effects of four heat mitigation strategies on micrometeorology and the thermal comfort of pedestrians were simulated for a neighborhood in eastern Los Angeles County. The strategies investigated include solar reflective ‘cool roofs’, vegetative ‘green roofs’, solar reflective ‘cool pavements’, and increased streetlevel trees. Aseries of micrometeorological simulations for an extreme heat day were carried out assuming widespread adoption of each mitigation strategy. Comparing each simulation to the control simulation assuming current land cover for the neighborhood showed that additional street-trees and cool pavements reduced 1.5mair temperature, while cool and green roofs mostly provided cooling at heights above pedestrian level. However, cool pavements increased reflected sunlight from the ground to pedestrians at a set of unshaded receptor locations. This reflected radiation intensified the mean radiant temperature and consequently increased physiological equivalent temperature (PET) by 2.2 °Cduring the day, reducing the thermal comfort of pedestrians. At another set of receptor locations that were on average 5mfrom roadways and underneath preexisting tree cover, cool pavements caused significant reductions in surface air temperatures and small changes in mean radiant temperature during the day, leading to decreases in PET of 1.1 °C, and consequent improvements in thermal comfort. For improving thermal comfort of pedestrians during the afternoon in unshaded locations, adding street trees was found to be the most effective strategy. However, afternoon thermal comfort improvements in already shaded locations adjacent to streets were most significant for cool pavements. Green and cool roofs showed the lowest impact on the thermal comfort of pedestrians since they modify the energy balance at roof level, above the height of pedestrians.


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