Glacier

The Glacier project was conducted on one of the hottest days of the year in Los Angeles, on September 22, 2012. Several studies have proposed that replacing dark roofs and streets around the world with reflective light ones could largely offset the warming effect of greenhouse gases emitted by human endeavors. Glaciers reflect heat from the sun away from the earth’s surface, though the world’s glaciers are now melting at an astonishing rate.

 

One car was covered by a white tarp, while my body was covered by white fabric and cardboard. Temperatures were recorded inside the car and fabric every half hour for five hours. Temperatures were also recorded in an uncovered car and on the uncovered ground. During the hottest part of the day, it was 15 degrees cooler inside the “human glacier” than the outside ground temperature, and 30 degrees cooler inside the “car glacier” than inside a nearby uncovered car.

Temperatures recorded for the outside ground temperature were recorded on the grass; it is possible that the grass responded to high temperatures by increasing respiration. This could account for the uneven temperature spikes. This would also explain the fairly constant humidity throughout the day, because without increased respiration one would suspect that humidity would decrease as the day got hotter.

Alex Moore wrote about Glacier at her blog, Fantastic Heliotherapy.