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Climate Change

The climate is changing rapidly, but Smart surface technologies can help to keep our cities cool while reducing flood risk.


IT'S GETTING HOTTER...FAST

 

Worldwide temperature trend

"Earth’s long-term warming trend can be seen in this visualization of NASA’s global temperature record," says NASA, "which shows how the planet’s temperatures are changing over time..."

Source: NASA News, NOAA. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/Kathryn Mersmann.

 

Hot SUMMER days and nights ARE BECOMING MORE COMMON ACROSS THE UNITED STATES

It is getting much hotter, and staying hot longer. The chart titled "Hot Days and Nights are Increasing in The United States" shows the percent of the contiguous US that experienced unusually hot summer temperatures. The divergence in the blue trend lines show that temperatures are not falling during the night as much as they did historically. High temperatures through the night limit how much people, and city surfaces, can cool down before sunlight heats them the following day. This exacerbates the heat-related health risks, raises energy costs, and will make cities increasingly less livable. (see 'Urban Heat Islands' section below)

 

For full 100 year data see sources: EPA (I)NOAA, and other select sources on climate change related heating: Scientific American (I), Scientific American (II), EPA (II)Climate Central (I), Climate Central (II), Delivering Urban Resilience

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Your City WILL BE GETTING HOTTER

Type the name of your city in the diagram below to find out how much hotter your city could get if the status quo is maintained (data available for most medium-to-large cities and towns). Numbers may differ slightly between models; however, multiple studies came to the same conclusion: your city will be getting much hotter, quickly.

Smart surfaces help to mitigate heat. By implementing standard smart surface policies, we can cool our cities.  Find out how.


HEAVY RAINS ARE BECOMING MORE COMMON

 

MORE EXTREME RAINS MEANS GREATER FLOOD RISK

Hurricanes and extreme rain events have become more frequent and widespread. The blue chart shows percent change in very heavy precipitation in the United States in the past 6 decades.

Smart surfaces help to reduce flood risk by allowing rainwater to be absorbed back into the ground instead of running off into storm drains which can overflow, or into rivers which can pollute marine environments and/or drinking water sources. By implementing standard smart surface policies, we can reduce these risks, and save money.  Find out how.

Percent Change in Very Heavy Precipitation. Source: US Global Change Research Program, also see: the EPA Green Infrastructure Guide for Municipal Operations

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URBAN HEAT ISLANDS

 

URBAN AREAS ARE HOTTER THAN THEIR SURROUNDINGS DUE TO THE MATERIALS USED IN BUILDING URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE

Urban areas have become much hotter because dark roads, pavements, and roofs have replaced trees and green spaces.

The EPA warns, "Heat islands can affect communities by increasing summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and mortality, and water quality." 

Cities are hotter than their surroundings because: (1) there are few downtown trees and little vegetation to absorb heat, (and pollution and rainfall); and (2), roofs, roads, and sidewalks absorb most of the sun’s heat (rather than reflecting it away) and then radiate that heat into buildings and into the city.

Reducing emissions is critical to fight global warming, and smart surface strategies both slow global climate change and provide large urban cooling, health, and economic benefits.  Find out how.

The interactive infographic below shows how much hotter 60 different cities are than the surrounding area. (select one of the cities to see more information).

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Urban Heat Island Profile. Data source: EPA, also see: Energy Saving Potentials and Air Quality Benefits of Urban Heat Island Mitigation. US DOE, and Heat Island Impacts. EPA

 

"Cities Are Hot and Getting Hotter." Interactive infographic source: Climate Central