Roads turn blue to combat extreme heat
Published : Monday, 21 October, 2019 at 9:09 PM Count : 342
One of the hottest countries on Earth is installing air conditioning outdoors and painting roads blue in a bid to keep cool.
Temperatures in summer now reach a sweltering 115°F (46°C) in Qatar, where the 2022 World Cup has already been moved to winter to avoid the searing heat.
Last year the tiny Gulf state began using air-conditioning in its football stadiums to keep fans and players cool.
But now giant coolers have been installed alongside pavements and in outdoor shopping malls so the temperatures are bearable for people going about their everyday lives.
And in Doha, the country’s capital, the Public Works Authority has painted the Abdullah Bin Jassim Street near one the city’s biggest souq markets the colour blue to reduce the temperature of the asphalt by 59-68°F degrees.
The blue roads help to lower the temperature because dark-coloured roads absorb the heat form the sun more than lighter ones, which reflect it.
The 18-month-long experiment is on a 650-foot (250m) stretch of road and uses a 0.003ins (1mm) thick blue coating with a special heat-reflecting pigment.
It also contains hollow ceramic microspheres which are designed to reflect infrared radiation.
Engineer Saad Al-Dosari said: 'The temperatures of dark asphalt is 20 degrees Celsius higher than the actual temperature because black attracts and radiates heat’.
Other cities around the world have also been conducting similar experiments to deal with the extreme heat.
This summer, Los Angeles painted its streets in a greyish-white coating which can be 23°F cooler than the black surface.
The air conditioning in Qatar works by pumping cold air onto the pavement through cooling nozzles after chilled water is brought to the street via a pipeline.
Qatar is especially vulnerable to extreme heat because the country is a peninsula – a piece of land which sticks out into water – on the Persian Gulf.
In the Gulf the average surface temperatures of the water are around 90.3°F (32.4°C).
With virtually no clouds or rain in summer, the rising sea temperatures lead to more atmospheric humidity.
Jos Lelieveld, an atmospheric chemist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, said: ‘These areas are warming faster than the rest of the globe, and in certain cities on top of that you have an urban heat island effect and urban pollution.'
In a bid to help everyone to stay cool, city planners have built walkways and streets pointing north to take advantage of breezes that come from that direction.
Talking about the blue road Hossam Almeer, a 30-year-old data scientist working for Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), said: ‘I think it’s great that the government is open-minded about using technological innovation to deal with the challenges of living in the desert.
‘The degree of cooling could have a real impact on our electricity consumption since air conditioning makes up almost 70 per cent of household electricity usage.’-Daily Mail