Quantifying the Albedo of the Montreal Island and its Potential for Increase

How to Cite

Frie, E., Gilmer, S., Buraga, B., & Franceschini, K. (2022). Quantifying the Albedo of the Montreal Island and its Potential for Increase. McGill Science Undergraduate Research Journal, 17(1), 38-44. https://doi.org/10.26443/msurj.v17i1.175


Urbanization has changed the Earth’s surface, resulting in the urban heat island effect. There has been a recent focus on increasing urban albedo as a strategy to mitigate this phenomenon. Studies on Montreal’s albedo have primarily looked at the impact of albedo manipulations upon the urban heat island effect. However, the current albedo of the island, broken down by land use type, has yet to be quantified. Therefore, previous studies often rely on generalized urban albedo and land use estimates that have not been proven to be generalizable to Montreal. This study attempted to quantify the current albedo of the Island of Montreal through urban land use categorization. The findings were then used to estimate albedo increase under different roof replacement scenarios. Data sets for building footprints, vegetation, and roadways were incomplete in Montreal, requiring the combination of several sources to obtain representative data for analysis. This study found the albedo of Montreal island to be 0.19 ± 0.057. Further, the hypothetical roof change scenarios then aligned with a 0.1 albedo increase, which is the albedo change used in current urban heat island effect mitigation literature. Using the albedo increase potential that resulted from the three scenarios tested here, future research should explore further estimation of the associated surface and air temperature decrease.