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The urban boundary layer is the part of the atmosphere in which most people on the planet now live, and is one of the most complex and least understood microclimates. Scientists’ ability to predict atmospheric transport, dispersion, weather and climate conditions in these energy hotspots relies on multiscale observations from the surface to the free atmosphere and from the rural/ocean areas to the urban center.

urban dispersion

However, current environmental monitoring and warning systems are designed for large-area coverage and are typically positioned away from the complex, heterogeneous urban and coastal areas. In parallel, previously conducted short-term field campaigns provide only a partial view of the dynamical, physical, and chemical processes involved. As a result, high resolution models remain untested and key processes remain not well understood.

Scientists’ capabilities to predict climate and weather impacting urban and coastal populations as well as the ability of the current models to reliably simulate environment, energy transport, and dispersion around these energy hotspots is insufficient. CMAS aims to fill this data gap by developing a framework for systematic measurements that will be used for model evaluation and development.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is developing a high-resolution modeling capability in collaboration with its Computational Science Initiative. Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences has world-renowned expertise in multiscale modeling, regional predictions, and extreme weather. This expertise, along with the innovative, integrated sensing approach of CMAS, will support the Nation’s need to better understand urban and coastal environment extreme winter weather events, regional weather systems, and national security needs in atmospheric transport and dispersion.