Title: Understanding urban heat in a changing climate
Lecturer: Lei Zhao, Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Time: Friday September 15, 2023 at 2:00 PM
Venue: Lecture Hall D103, School of Atmospheric Sciences, Xianlin Campus
Abstract: Cities are where major human-perceived climate change impacts occur. The uniqueness of local urban climates such as urban heat island (UHI), a common phenomenon of relative urban warmth compared to surrounding rural areas, further exacerbates the heat stress induced by non-local greenhouse gas-induced warming. The associated socioeconomic impacts (such as public health, energy, and workplace productivity) are often much higher in urban areas than over other landscapes because of the concentrated population. These hazardous risks are projected to be further worsened due to rapid urbanization coupled with climate change. Understanding the mechanism of urban heat, its interaction with climate change, and the associated impacts is essential for effective urban climate adaptation and resilient development. Here in this seminar, I will present some of our recent works that combine Earth system modeling, theory, remote sensing, and physics-informed machine learning to understand the urban heat island, humid heat stress and exposure, future change, variability and uncertainty, and their implications to public health and urban adaptation at large scales. In the second part, I will present recent advances in representing urban-scale processes and dynamics in global-scale Earth system models.
Brief introduction to the speaker: Lei Zhao is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE), and the National Center of Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). His research concerns the physical and engineering processes in the atmospheric boundary layer where most human activities and environmental systems are concentrated, with a particular focus on built surfaces and urban environments. He combines theory, numerical modeling, remote sensing and in situ observations, and cutting-edge machine learning methods to study environmental fluid mechanics and land-atmosphere interaction that relate to urban environments, climatology and hydrology, climate change, climate impacts and adaptation. Lei is the recipient of the U.S. NSF CAREER Award, the Timothy Oke Award (2023) from the International Association for Urban Climate, and the AGU Global Environmental Change Early Career Award (2023). He received his Ph.D. degree in atmospheric physics from Yale University and B.S. degree from Nanjing University. Before joining at UIUC, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University.