Tarendra Lakhankar

Urban Climate and Social Vulnerability

Monitoring micro-climate variables within cities that have a high accuracy for a better urban resilience to climate change is an ongoing challenge. Assessing the intra-urban characteristics of a city is vital to ensuring better living standards. Urban meteorological networks and automated data acquisition is highly needed for modern urban climate monitoring, evaluation, and analysis. Following research questions are being investigated using NY-uHMT datasets: How does incorporation of urbanization data into the flash flood guidance system by creating the static grid/pixels help identify and isolate areas where land development has altered the runoff characteristics in NYC?; What role does soil moisture deficit between the urban and surrounding rural areas play in exacerbating urban air temperature? And how does it impact the micro-climate of the cities: local and regional?; Can integration of ground based in-situ observation with radar and urbanized Weather Research and Forecasting (uWRF) model (used to understand the spatial and temporal distribution of heavy rainfall that are influenced by urban heat island, urban canopy and urban aerosols) be updated by higher resolution soil moisture records?

NY-uHMT is designed to monitor basic meteorological and hydrological variables to assess the variability in the city’s microclimates and their response to extreme events (https://www.cessrst.org/uHMT/). Dotted around four of New York’s five boroughs are 19 autonomous mini-meteorological stations established by The City College of New York-based NOAA Center for Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Technologies (NOAA CESSRST) and CUNY CREST Institute. This is part of CCNY’s singular response to the rising seas and extreme weather conditions in the city caused by climate change. Dubbed the NY-uHMT (New York Urban Hydrometeorological Testbed) project, it is a one of a kind high-density hydro-meteorological weather network, according to the New York City Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, a partner in the venture.

Severity Heat Map of Hurricane Ida using 311 Street Flooding Complains in New York City

The overarching research objectives of NY-uHMT are:

  • To develop integrated high-resolution mapping of ground and atmospheric conditions, focusing on the lower atmosphere, to detect and forecast severe wind, tornado, hail, ice, and flash flood hazards;
  • To improve the accuracy and lead time of measuring and accessing the precipitation and providing flash flood forecasts and warnings in the New York City region;
  • To create impacts-based, urban-scale flash flood and hazard warnings and forecasts for a range of public and private decision-makers that result in measureable benefit for public safety and the economy;
  • To develop collaborative models for federal/municipal/private partnerships for education outreach to NYC schools with on-going interdisciplinary weather system research at NOAA CESSRST and CUNY-CREST Institute.
    In addition, data produced from the NY-uHMT stations will be available to the general public, agencies and researchers through open access servers located at center website.