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Dear Mr. Gore: The answer is mirrors

By Jeff Moore

Dark surfaces, such as motorways and roofs, can absorb and radiate enough heat to make an urban area’s average temperature 3 degrees hotter than surrounding areas.

Utilizing city-wide, highly reflective, white roofing could cool these urban areas by 0.6 degrees, according to Geophysical Research Letters. It seems like a good idea, but that heat and light not being absorbed has to go somewhere up.

This brings to mind that during the Siege of Syracuse (circa 214–212 BC), Archimedes used a similar idea but instead created a heat ray weapon designed to set Roman ships aflame.

Using highly reflective mirrored surfaces to focus sunlight onto Roman warships that were attacking the Skaramagas naval base near Athens, Archimedes was quite successful at setting their wooden attack ships on fire.

Jeff Moore is a data reporter at The Daily Reporter. In case you need more inspiration on reflective light, take a listen to this song by Sam Phillips.

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