Heat waves, drought, and hotter summers are all becoming more frequent due to climate change, and sweltering summer heat waves are often exacerbated by the “urban heat island” effect in cities worldwide. The lack of vegetation and moisture in cities, coupled with heat-storing blacktop, concrete, and asphalt roof shingles increases city temperatures compared to surrounding rural areas. Dangerous heat waves can increase the risk of heat stroke and heat-related mortality, but the urban heat island effect makes cities even more hazardous during heat spikes. But there may be a surprisingly simple solution, according to a new modeling study conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford. Painting roofs so that the materials reflect rather than absorb heat could go a long way in mitigating the urban heat island effect and help keep cities cooler during heat waves. The results, published in the study Environment International, show that cool roofs in cities could reduce peak daytime temperatures by three degrees Celsius during a heat wave. For the study, the researchers used a regional weather model and assessed temperature changes across Birmingham and the West Midlands in the...