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Urban climate modeling: dynamics and scenarios

Grant number: 17/03514-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2018
Effective date (End): September 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Geography
Principal Investigator:Margarete Cristiane de Costa Trindade Amorim
Grantee:Renata dos Santos Cardoso
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (FCT). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Presidente Prudente. Presidente Prudente , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Cities constitute one of the greatest transformations of the natural landscape, presenting great heterogeneity of landscapes in small areas, built-up surfaces with different thermal properties and albedos, reduced tree cover, and human activities that affect the atmospheric dynamics and several climatological variables. Given the complex of dynamic processes within the urban environment, the hypothesis of this study is that areas with distinct morphology and land cover lead to different interactions between surface, vegetation, buildings, and atmosphere. Consequently, microclimates are generated with dynamics that influence the formation of heat islands and intensify intra-urban temperatures. Therefore, there is a need to seek specific strategies for each landscape arrangement, aiming to ameliorate urban thermal comfort. To overcome the challenge of measuring physical processes inherent to that complex system, urban climate modeling has been used to simulate and better understand the microclimatic dynamics, from its diagnosis to the projection of future scenarios. Based on that, we aim to investigate the interactions between surfaces, plants, buildings, and atmosphere that generate urban microclimates in a tropical mid-sized city. Using the three-dimensional microclimatic model ENVI-met, we intend to simulate current climate conditions in Presidente Prudente, Brazil, to design future scenarios, and insight into strategies to mitigate thermal discomfort experienced by inhabitants. Following the "local climate zone" (LCZ) classification system, simulations will be done in areas with different types of buildings and land cover, representative of the typical landscapes of the city. After selecting the LCZs, we will get information about geometric properties, building materials and local vegetation. Then, air and surface temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction will be measured during summer and winter months to provide input data for the model. Using the database, we will simulate the local atmosphere dynamics within the urban area. We will also modify the initial parameters to design future scenarios in order to test urban arrangements that can help reduce urban heat island effects. Based on our results, we intend to assess the impact of urban form and land cover on microclimate, and suggest mitigation strategies that may be applied in different areas of Presidente Prudente or used as reference to other cities to promote healthy and pleasant environments.