RALEIGH, N.C.(WNCN) – With temperatures in the high 90’s this week, would you be cooler if you walked outside in a suburban neighborhood or downtown? According to urban heat, it depends on how land is being used.
A urban heat study in Raleigh last year showed there could be a 10 degree difference in temperature in areas with higher uses of concrete or pavement. Cooler temperatures were recorded in areas with tree cover or greenery. Higher temperatures and higher humidity levels were recorded in areas around downtown, places with more surface parking lots or more exposed pavement. These hotter areas areas are known as Urban Heat Islands.
In a study last year, the NC State Climate Office looked at urban heat in Raleigh and Durham. They found large spaces of asphalt can sent heat into surrounding residential areas that lack protective greenery. Densely packed suburban neighborhoods with uncovered surface areas retained their heat into the night. On the flip side, the study also found forested parks helped keep nearby residential neighborhoods cooler.
You can click here to view the city’s urban heat island map and to see if you live in one.
To combat urban heat, Raleigh city council voted to re-allocate $70,000 into a pavement rejuvenation project.
The city plans to treat 157,442 square yards of streets with a titanium dioxide. The city says the additive can better reflect solar rays, reducing the effect of urban heat islands and helping to mitigate the effects of air pollution.
A map has been provided that shows the top third most severe urban heat islands with an overlay of the titanium dioxide streets. This shows how the titanium streets were selected using the UHI mapping tool. The use of this additive to reduce heat islands supports the Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP).