June 16, 2010
Analysis Of Atmosphere In Phoenix, Ariz., Suggests New Model For Sound Urban Growth Policies
Atmospheric research often focuses on clouds' impact on weather and climate. Yet even low clouds are a long way off, with a base some 6,000 feet above earth. University of Notre Dame fluid dynamics and engineering professor Harindra Fernando works the other end of the air column closer to home"”the bottom of the atmosphere in the city, which is known as the urban boundary layer. A report on his team's work appears in a recent journal article in Physics of Fluids, which is published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP).
The goal is to understand atmospheric impact on people's health and comfort due to elements such as wind and airborne particle flow, dispersal and transport. Think of it as the physics of comfort. Dr. Fernando puts it this way: "The urban boundary layer of the atmosphere is where people live. And the long term-viability of cities and our ability to assure a high quality of urban life is affected by how clean our environment is and how fast it is changing by human impacts."
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