Global Warming (Heat Island Lab experiment)

The heat island effect is when a city, or area covered by asphalt retains more of the suns heat because the surface is black. This happens in many major cities and has been proven by many tests carried out over the years. In my lab, I decided to test the heat island effect on a smaller scale. I used two temperature probes to collect temps from two different surfaces. I found from my results that the black surface was consistently warmer than the white surface. As you can see from my graphs, the black lines that are higher are always the black temperatures. Even though its only a couple of degrees this sample is only using a 4 by 5 inch surfaces. On a city scale this can be up to 10-20 degree difference.

My hypothesis is that in urban areas where there is little plant vegetation, an heat island effect is created where the heat cannot be soaked up by anything. Therefore the heat cannot escape and urban areas become hotter than other areas such as rural or suburban.

I conducted 5 experiments on temperatures between white and black surfaces. The black should represent something like assault in a city, and the white is used to find the difference. The color of black soaks up sunlight and warms up more than the color white which reflects the sunlight remaining room temp. I found that the black surface was on average 3 degrees warmer than the white temp. This doesn’t seem like a big change, but we have to think of this on a large city scale rather than just a square foot of cardboard paper. Controlled variables were the light o the heat lamp. Independent is the heat given off by the surfaces. On a large city scale this can change the temp up to 15 degrees warmer which is due to the heat island effect. Some ways to reverse this effect would be to plant roof gardens on top of buildings or set up spaces for parks in major city.

Basically, anyway to cut down on the surface area of the darker surfaces would help reverse the effect. Two limitations would be the lab wasn’t continued for a longer period of time it just stopped after 2 minutes every interval. Two improvements would be to separate the surfaces more to prevent the heat from transferring from one surface to another. Also I could continue this testing for a longer time.


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