The study of urban areas is a key area of research across much of the school and forms a significant component of atmospheric research. The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES) is home to the Birmingham Urban Climate Laboratory, a unique network of over 200 air temperature sensors and 30 weather stations across the city. The laboratory is the centrepiece of urban climatological research in the school and is used to quantify the impact of the urban heat island (UHI) effect in Birmingham and beyond, as well as a testbed for other high resolution measurement campaigns based on innovative low-cost sensing approaches.
Modelling research in this area includes meso-scale modelling of UHI and large-eddy simulations of turbulent flows in the urban atmospheric boundary as well as smaller scale urban canyon processes. There are many collaborative projects in this area evaluating the impact of urban heat on human health and air pollution which requires the coupling of chemistry and turbulence models at both the city scale and the street scale.
Associated project: CityFlocks aims to directly address the data sparsity issue by developing and deploying meteorological instrument payloads on birds, primarily on pigeons.
Key Staff: Professor John Thornes, Dr William Bloss, Dr Lee Chapman