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Using Kilometer-Scale E35M to Investigate Air Pollution Impacts on Coastal Storms

Active Dates 7/1/2023-6/30/2028
Program Area Earth & Environmental Systems Modeling
Project Description
Using Kilometer-Scale E3SM to Investigate Air Pollution Impacts on Coastal Storms

Dr. Youtong Zheng, Assistant Professor

Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

University of Houston

Houston, TX 

Our coastal urban communities face a significant threat from the combined forces of air pollution and coastal storms. There is an ongoing debate among scientists regarding the potential link between human-generated air pollution and the intensification of storms. This phenomenon, known as the aerosol invigoration effect, has the potential to wreak havoc on our coastal urban areas, putting economies and properties at risk. Unfortunately, current global climate models cannot represent this effect due to the coarse grid resolution that fails to capture the intricate details of storm dynamics and microphysics. With advancements in computational power, a new generation of climate models has emerged, allowing for more detailed and accurate simulations at the kilometer scale. One such model is the DOE's Simple Cloud-Resolving E3SM Atmosphere Model (SCREAM). Motivated by this new opportunity, this project plans to use SCREAM within a hierarchical modeling framework to assess the magnitude of the aerosol invigoration effect on coastal storms and gain a mechanistic understanding of the impacts. To that end, a series of observation-informed numerical experiments will be performed to evaluate the fidelity of the SCREAM in reproducing observed coastal storms, elucidate the physical mechanisms behind the invigoration effect, and examine how large-scale dynamics modulate this phenomenon. These modeling activities will improve the predictability of coastal-urban systems by (1) advancing fundamental understanding of air pollution impacts on coastal storms and (2) establishing a well-tested analysis framework for guiding the development of DOE high-resolution models.
Award Recipient(s)
  • University of Houston (PI: Zheng, Youtong)