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Thousands of lives lost each year in heatwaves could be prevented by painting roofs white, new research suggests.
Cities can heat up by an extra 9°C (16°F) compared to surrounding areas - an effect called the 'urban heat island'.
Roofs - Colours - Heat - Space - Buildings
But painting roofs in colours that reflect heat back into space can keep buildings significantly cooler, research has found.
Around half of deaths during heatwaves - mainly the elderly - are thought to be caused by the extra heat in cities.
Experts - People - Heatwaves
Experts calculate how many people die during heatwaves, compared to how many would die normally.
For example, the 2003 heatwave is thought to have caused the deaths of 2,000 people in England and in July 2009 a four-day spell of hot weather killed 300 people.
Oxford - University - Study - 'heat - Island
The Oxford University study said the 'heat island' effect is caused partly by a lack of moisture and vegetation in cities compared with rural landscapes, and because urban building materials store up heat.
The scientists calculated how much temperatures would drop in the city of Birmingham, simulating heat levels seen in the hot summers of 2003 and 2006.
Study - Environment - International - Cool
The study, published in Environment International, suggested that implementing cool...
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