4.4 Probing the Effects of City Size, Shape, and Pollution State on Storm Behavior: Prospectus for a New NASA Project

Wednesday, 9 January 2013: 2:15 PM
Room 9A (Austin Convention Center)
Geoffrey M. Henebry, South Dakota State Univ., Brookings, SD; and D. J. Stensrud, A. L. Steiner, C. Small, L. R. Musacchio, and K. M. de Beurs

As cities grow and develop and as we concentrate our population, culture, and wealth in urban areas, there is increasing need to understand how characteristics of urban size, shape, and function affect storms and what are the likely consequences, both positive and negative. Moreover, given the multiple power-law scaling relationships that have been described concerning both cities and meteorological phenomena, it is reasonable to hypothesize that effective thresholds exist in the interaction of storms with cities. A new NASA Interdisciplinary Sciences project aims to explore the general idea that storms of a certain size and intensity respond to the various and variable biogeophysical imprints of the urbanized area, and depend on city size, shape, activity, and on the landscape matrix of the urbanized area. Our research questions focus on how the urban dome may affect severe storm development, demise, intensity and track. The study region covers the urbanized areas of the U.S. Great Plains, where urban populations have been growing faster over the past decade than the national average, where cities are embedded in a matrix of agricultural land uses, and where severe weather is abundant during the warm season. The project will use empirical studies of multi-modal remote sensing data coupled with a suite of WRF/CHEM simulations to probe the effects.
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