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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Bright Roofs, Cool World
12 April 2012 7:01 pm
Making urban roofs and pavements more reflective could cool Earth's climate slightly but measurably at little or no cost, researchers say. Altogether, urban and suburban areas between the latitudes of 45°N and 45°S—a swath that stretches from near Minneapolis, Minnesota, to south-central Chile—cover about 2 million square kilometers, an area slightly larger than Mexico. Because roofs and pavements account for more than 60% of urban surfaces (see image), using lighter-colored roofing materials (concrete versus asphalt, for example) could boost average albedo, or reflectivity, enough to drop global average temperature by as much as 0.07°C, the researchers report online today in Environmental Research Letters. Achieving the same amount of cooling by slashing carbon dioxide emissions would require taking every automobile on the planet off the road for about 50 years, the researchers estimate. Although brightening all of the roofs and pavements in every urban and suburban area worldwide sounds like a Herculean task, it could be done rather easily and relatively quickly with little added expense: Roofs are typically replaced or resurfaced every 20 to 30 years, and streets and roads are repaved every 10 years or so, with brighter alternatives often costing little or no more than the materials now in place, the researchers claim.
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