Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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White Roads Stop Global Warming

Inspired by the thread that is PeterSealy's "Global Cooling".
  (+24, -12)(+24, -12)
(+24, -12)
  [vote for,

Car. Important invention. Soon lots of cars.

Cars need roads. Lots of cars need lots of roads.

Black absorbs heat. Roads are black. Roads absorb heat. Lots of roads absorb lots of heat. Lots of roads criss-cross Earth.

Therefore the Earth absorbs lots of heat from lots of roads which are black that absorb heat.

Now if the roads were white...

White deflects heat. Roads are white. Roads deflect heat. Lots of roads deflect lots of heat. Lots of roads criss-cross Earth. Earth looks like Hoth now.

Therefore the Earth deflects lots of heat from lots of roads which are white that deflect heat.

The light deflected off the planet would also make Earth quite a good space lighthouse when startravel moves into full swing.

mrkillboy, Jun 26 2001

Global Cooling http://www.halfbake...ea/Global_20Cooling
Inspired by PeterSealy's idea and subsequent annotations. [mrkillboy, Jun 26 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Coloured Roads http://www.halfbake...ea/Coloured_20Roads
Idea with alternate coloured roads. [mrkillboy, Jun 26 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Hoth http://www.theforce...swtc/orbs.html#hoth
Makes Antarctica look like a glorified ice cube. [mrkillboy, Jun 26 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

the global warming myth http://www.skeptici..._warming/index.html
White roads - a solution to a problem that might not exist. [dana_renay, Feb 01 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

High-albedo crops http://www.guardian...an/08/climatechange
White roads mentioned in final paragraph as having 'also been suggested' [imaginality, Jan 08 2008]

Everyone should paint their roofs white http://www.guardian...n-emissions-climate
[hippo, Jan 16 2009]


       Also many people, more born every second. Hair scatters light--no good. Mandatory baldness, and heads painted white. Much better! Everyone squinting all the time. And writing in short sentences too. Everyone would be wondering what Hoth is. *gives idea a pastry*
Dog Ed, Jun 26 2001

       Then we paint all cars white, make the headlights, breaklights and indicators white and bingo...
RobertKidney, Jun 26 2001

       Be careful as someone will soon suggest that people riding around on horses, wearing white bed linen, will be needed to enforce these levels of whiteness ...
Aristotle, Jun 26 2001

       solution: white tires!   

       why don't we go ahead and paint the whole planet white?
mihali, Jun 26 2001

       Parking lots should also be white. White as hell.
mrthingy, Jun 26 2001

       Talking of hell - imagine doing the drive from Houston to New Orleans (which I did a few years ago) in the blazing southern sun, on a wide four lane highway that was completely white.
Now go get treatment for snowblindness.
goff, Jun 26 2001

       PS been watching too much King of the Hill...
globaltourniquet, Jun 26 2001

       But if the whole world's painted white or wearing white or is otherwise white, all those expensive spy satellites will be rendered useless. Croissant.
DrBob, Jun 26 2001

       What color are the road markings?
goff, Jun 26 2001

       The recent surge of global-warming prevention ideas is kind of ironic, considering the weather in LP Michigan. For those who live elsewhere, spring temperatures came pretty late, even for Michigan. One of our local columnists was even considering buying a couple cans of aerosol spray for the sole purpose of thickening the CO2 layer/thinning the ozone. And what is Hoth? ...uh-oh.
nick_n_uit, Jun 27 2001

       Road markings would be indicated by those pastel off-white colours. A hint of lillac could mark the centre lane and a dash of lavender could pick out the roadsides.
Aristotle, Jun 27 2001

       Global warming problem has nothing to do with Earth absorbing heat. Global warming problem exists because that heat can't leave Earth and go to space because polution makes something like heat shield around the planet and heat stays in atmosphere instead of leaving. That's why we have global warming problem.   

       Painting roads to white ?   


       It will do nothing... except making global warming problem even worse - useally Earth is beeing warmed and then it emiters the heat - with white roads that process would be going on faster - making global warming turbo :)   

       I'm from Yugoslavia and my English is ... well ... as you can see...
Ex, Jun 27 2001

       Your English, Gospodin Ex, is a damn sight* better than my Serbo-Croatian.   

       *"a damn sight" = colloquial for "a lot"... (sorry)
globaltourniquet, Jun 27 2001

       White roads would reflect light as light. Black roads reflect (re-emit) light as heat. (Infra red.) Greenhouse gases trap heat (IR), not light. White roads would cool Earth.   

       Other things that cool earth: snow, clouds. Same principle.
wiml, Jun 28 2001

       I'm voting against the idea because it's incredibly racist.
Wondertoad, Jun 28 2001

       Frankly, living in Scotland, I'm all for this global warming malarkey. OK, so all the countries that are nice and warm just now become either unbearable scorched earth or drowned marshland. I think a submerged Home Counties and an infernal US are a small price to pay for an extra couple of weeks of summer in Glasgow ;)
Guy Fox, Jun 28 2001

       I have to go along with Guy Fox in Scotland. I think whoever came up with this global warming thing was sampling their home-grown way too much. Ever since they said "global warming" the summers have been colder and colder. If black pavement absorbs and gives off heat, I think we should pave half of British Columbia so we can get a decent summer for a change.
wrinklehead, Jun 28 2001

       I really don't know what to think. I live in a desert that gets really, really snowy in the winter due to the mountains, so I just want cool weather all year.
AfroAssault, Jun 28 2001

       If we paint the roads white by using spray cans, does it all cancel out?
dumbassengineer, Jun 30 2001

       How 'bout snow? Could we just have some snow in the summer when this globalwarming thing seems to be the worst?
dumbassengineer, Jun 30 2001

       Yo, you tryin' to ELIMINATE BLACKNESS from our world, G? WAZZUP!   

       I pity the fool that don't think this be WACK.   

       (Just kidding. Croissant :)
jester, Oct 04 2001

       Normally, I don't do this, but it's the second time today I've seen really good subject concatenation.   

       White Roads Stop Global Warming Bumpin' Uglies
StarChaser, Oct 06 2001

       seeing as the greenhouse effect is about heat being trapped in the lower atmosphere, how about a massive pacific cloud seeding program, big white clouds reflect the light and heat back and who'd worry about torrential rainfall 1000's of miles away from dry land? just a thought...
solomungus, Oct 07 2001

       One seeds clouds to make rain, which A) requires clouds to be there already, and 2) makes the clouds go away.
StarChaser, Oct 07 2001

       Global warming isn't as much of an issue as you might think. If the world warms up, then more water will evaporate, causing more cloud, which reflects energy away from earth, cooling it down again.   

       Keep that in mind.
beerhunter, Jan 12 2002

       amen beerhunter, but the most glaring point of all is, WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE WHITE ROADS AFTER LABOUR DAY?!?!?
teatime, Jan 30 2002

       There's a stretch of I-40 in North Carolina that's very light grey with both black and white lane markings (black for day, white reflective for night). Kind of a prototype... croissant.
magnificat, Jan 30 2002

       beerhunter: Except that cloud traps heat. Never been to Venus?
pottedstu, Feb 01 2002

       As a late reader, I agree with [Ex], the one with the questionable English. If I understand correctly, global warming originates in the atmosphere. Nearer to the ground, you can have the "heat island" effect, which is caused by both black pavement and cement in general. It changes local climate patterns, and is a totally different animal from GLOBAL WARMING. But your idea would help reduce urban temps, and that would be great... enjoy your croissant.
polartomato, Jun 14 2002

       This idea is ok for those areas that don't get any snowfall. I live in Minnesota. We have highways that are mostly the black asphalt. But in winter, we can get such a blizzard that even the BLACK roads are not visible under the snow, until the plows come along, which is anyone's guess at when they will get their butts out to the freeways. Snow is white, unless a dog has been around, and if the roads are too, then driving after a snowfall would be pretty dangerous. Summer would be ok.
FuzzyKitten99, Jul 16 2002

       Ice also melts faster on black roads. Would white roads then require lots more rock salt, leading to faster car corrosion, big changes in local water chemistry, airborne pollution from rock salt manufacture/transport, &c.? Would the white roads themselves require more (or less) energy- intensive manufacturing and maintenance? How would they affect accident rates (daytime vs. night-time, of course)?   

       Bottom line: we might want to carefully think through the foreseeable consequences of any massive campaign to increase earth's albedo (tropical deforestation, anyone?)... Until then, how about less road-paving (which favors gas guzzling and air pollution), and more reliance on rail systems? Polished steel rails are -highly- reflective ;->
n-pearson, Jul 26 2003

       There are lots of miles of roads, but they take up a really tiny portion of the earth's surface.
nomocrow, Jan 08 2008

       Interesting article on painting roofs white (linked). I didn't know that California requires new warehouses to be built with white roofs.
hippo, Jan 16 2009

       [UB] never thought of that (snow-blindness from white roads)... maybe it just has to reflect IR (and would that be worse for a human eye that doesn't contract for IR radiation(or does it))   

       [nomo] true but you shouldn't abandon an incremental solution just because it isn't a singular cure-all.
FlyingToaster, Jan 16 2009

       I have an unpopular view that we should not combat global warming. We should combat pollution and move towards a carbon neutral society through the use of biologically rendered fuels and emmission collection, but combating the symptom will not solve anything.   

       A simple view point is that it is not going to be a good idea painting the whole world white, so why paint parts of it.   

       A more complex argument is that the earth is so adaptive it will settle into a balanced state. Excess CO2 will be absorbed by plants and CH4 will be fixed into the soil. If we start acting on the environment in a seamingly possitive way it will accelerate the return to the norm but also accelerate climate change in the other direction. We have to realise we arent as important as we think we are and the world is not as fragile as we believe it to be. It was around in harder environmental times before we were around and it will survive harder environmental times after we are gone.
miasere, Jan 16 2009

       //it will settle into a balanced state// - but not necessarily one in which humans can survive.
hippo, Jan 16 2009

       [miasere] - you don't happen to work for the pr department of CWAVIC by any chance? (that's the Climate Wrecker's And Village Idiots Corporation - owned and operated by the Bush/Exxon/Mobil/McPalin confederation of dunces)
xenzag, Jan 16 2009

       [hippo], true, which is why we must limit the damage we do by reducing the output of harmful substances into the atmosphere. This must however be done in sensible ways. Buying a hybrid car is a bad thing to do as the manufacture of the batteries causes more environmental damage than it saves over its life span, however buying a small, highly efficient diesel car is a good idea as it will produce less damage for its life span.   

       This is not what I am arguing about though. The problem is that suggestions have been made, for example, about pumping nutrients from deep sea water to encourage algae growth which will reduce CO2 levels. This would have a effect on the oxygenation of the water and kill fish which control the acidity of sea water (by excreating calcium carbonate which is alkali counteracting the disolved and acidic CO2). I am all for alternative fuel sources but not for treating the symptoms not the cause.   

       [xenzag], You may be no better than any of the people you listed. The path to hell is paved with good intentions.
miasere, Jan 16 2009

       That battery's causing more damage thing is completely false. It's only made vaugely plausible by attributing environemental damage from a zinc mine for the last 60 years entirely to hybrid production.


       That being, I agree that treating the cause is more important than treating the symptons. However, if you can do both, you might as well. Increasing the albedo of the planet, where doing so requires at most minor changes from current systems would not be a horrible concept. Paving roads with light colored materials would have some slight affect on this, and might be attempted if the materials can be made properly durable. (Note that concrete paving already acomplishes this to some extent.) In practice, however, the total paved surface area of the planet, relative to the total area of the planet is fairly low, but it might help.
MechE, Jan 16 2009


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