IAS Distinguished Lecture

Urbanization and Climate Change in Coastal Metropolises


The world is in a phase of rapid urbanization, with more than half of the population now living in urban areas, and with 40% inhabited within 100 km of the coast. Coastal areas are under the threat of climate change, including sea level rise and changes of land-sea breeze, large-scale circulation, snow fall and precipitation. Understanding of climate change in urban areas requires downscaling of climate model information to urban scales, in some cases down to the neighborhoods of few hundred meter scale or even less. An attempt to address climate change impacts in urban areas will be addressed in this presentation, first focusing on the intricacies of urban modeling, and then applying a multi-scale model chain to the City of Chicago located in the coast of Great Lake Michigan. Previous climate model intercomparison projects (CMIP) point to weaknesses of climate model performance in equatorial regions, and to this end one of the least understood areas in the context of climate signals is the equatorial Indian Ocean. A multi-faceted, multi-institutional project dealing with understanding of air-sea interaction processes in Indian Ocean will be discussed, including presentation of some recent measurments of circulation in coastal areas of Southeast Asia.

About the speaker

Prof. Harindra Joseph Fernando received his PhD in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics from Johns Hopkins University in 1983. He received post-doctoral training in environmental engineering sciences at California Institute of Technology. During 1984-2009, he was affiliated with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Arizona State University. In 1994, he was appointed the founding Director of the Center for Environmental Fluid Dynamics, a position he held till 2009, while holding a co-appointment with the School of Sustainability. In 2010, he joined the University of Notre Dame as Wayne and Diana Murdy Endowed Professor of Engineering and Geosciences.

Among honors and awards Prof. Fernando received are the Presidential Young Investigator Award, ASU Alumni Distinguished Research Award, Rieger Foundation Distinguish Scholar Award and Doctor Honoris Causa by University of Grenoble. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Physical Society, American Meteorological Society and American Association for Advancement in Science. He was elected to the European Academy in 2009.

Prof. Fernando is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Environmental Fluid Dynamics and an editor of the Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics and Journal of Non-Linear Processes in Geophysics. He has published more than 250 papers spanning some 50 International Journals, covering widely different swaths of fluid dynamics. Currently he is leading two large multi-institutional research projects funded by the US Office of Naval Research, one on mountain weather and the other on Indian Ocean circulation.

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