Top-of-atmosphere radiative cooling with white roofs: Experimental verification and model-based evaluation

Francisco Salamanca, Shaheen Tonse, Surabi Menon, Vishal Garg, Krishna P. Singh, Manish Naja, Marc L. Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


We evaluate differences in clear-sky upwelling shortwave radiation reaching the top of the atmosphere in response to increasing the albedo of roof surfaces in an area of India with moderately high aerosol loading. Treated (painted white) and untreated (unpainted) roofs on two buildings in northeast India were analyzed on five cloudless days using radiometric imagery from the IKONOS satellite. Comparison of a radiative transfer model (RRTMG) and radiometric satellite observations shows good agreement (R2=0.927). Results show a mean increase of 50Wm2 outgoing at the top of the atmosphere for each 0.1 increase of the albedo at the time of the observations and a strong dependence on atmospheric transmissivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044007
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012



  • aerosol loading
  • cool roof
  • radiation balance
  • satellite radiometry
  • surface reflectance
  • urban systems
  • white roof

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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