Posted 6:10 PM 5/11/2012 : National Research Council reports on urban meteorology
TUCSON - All around the country atmospheric scientists are coming together to bridge the gap between them and the average person to come up with better forecasting solutions for urban areas.
A National Research Council on Urban Meteorology is looking at ways to make more accurate and localized forecasts available to the public to keep up with the ever growing urban sprawl. The high density of people and infrastructure in these areas makes them vulnerable to weather related events such as the urban heat island effect, flash flooding, high winds and pollution.
According to Dr. Xubin Zeng, UA professor and co-chair of the National Research Council, more than 80% of the United States lives in an urban setting.
Dr. Zeng says, "By the year 2030 60% of the world's population will live in urban areas. So whatever we do, this is a very important topic."
One of the biggest problems is the lack of understanding and communication between scientists and the end users like the general public, safety officials or local utility companies. To better understand each other investments need to be made into new technologies to bring weather forecasting and monitoring to meet the end users needs.
One thing Dr. Zeng says that could revolutionize local forecasting is the implementation of weather instruments on government vehicles. We could than have up to date mobile data from many different locations around the city.
"The U.S. Post Office is required to have GPS. Imagine if we put meteorological instruments in those trucks. Suddenly we have a mobile platform for measurements," explains Zeng.
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