Parsons Laboratory Seminar Series: Urban heat mitigation: is it a simple surface energy balance problem?
As the climate warms and as the urban population continues to increase, heat becomes one of the most pressing environmental health issues in cities. Various urban heat mitigation strategies such as white and green roofs have been proposed. From the physical science perspective, key questions to address include how effective these strategies are and where/when they are mostly effective. In this talk, Dan Li, assistant professor at Boston University, will use two examples to demonstrate that the surface energy balance provides a strong constraint on the cooling effects of urban heat mitigation strategies. A simple surface energy balance model’s results agree well with the simulated results from a state-of-the-art climate model. In both examples, it is found that the convective heat transfer efficiency and its parameterization play an important role in affecting the estimated/ simulated effectiveness of urban heat mitigation strategies. I will conclude the talk by discussing how to improve the parameterization of convective heat transfer in complex urban environments.