PhD Studentship: Modelling the penetration of cool air from a park into urban street canyons


Risks associated with extreme weather in cities, such as heat waves, are all projected to increase with global climate change. Governments have made considerable effort to determine feasible urban planning and climate mitigation strategies. Green technologies are among popular choices due to their multiple fold benefits (biodiversity, biophilic, sustainability, natural resources etc). This proposal attempts to advance the knowledge in this discipline so that informed decisions can be made regarding mitigating the impacts of urban heat effectively. The aim of this research is to answer a question: how effective (distance and degree) can an urban park cool down the temperature inside an urban street network next to the park under a given meteorological condition? A three-dimensional microscale air flow model will be adopted in the study. This model is designed to simulate the surface-plant-air interactions in urban environment with a typical resolution of metre. Model validation will be conducted using the urban climate data from the Birmingham Urban Climate Laboratory (BUCL), which has been functioning since 2013 in collecting data for the high density network in Birmingham. The stations with nearby urban parks will be selected for the validation.

Applicants are expected to have a very good bachelor’s or master’s degree in the subjects of atmospheric science, meteorology, engineering, or applied mathematics. Strong motivation of studying numerical/computational modelling or fluid dynamics is desired. Programming skills are preferred. The PhD student will join a vibrant research group, Environmental Health Sciences, comprised of leading scientists in the areas of transport, chemical and physical transformations of atmospheric constituents, and the effects of air pollution upon the environment, and particularly upon human health.
Keywords: Urban heat island, cooling by urban green space, climate change, modelling, microscale urban climate, CFD