Civil and Environmental Engineering - Master Calendar

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EWES Seminar: Water and Heat in US Cities: Examining Biophysical Feedbacks for Sustainable Urban Environments

Event Type
1310 Yeh Center
Mar 27, 2023   12:00 - 12:50 pm  
Kyle Blount, PhD.
Prof. Roland Cusick
Originating Calendar
CEE Seminars and Conferences

Cities are home to a growing majority of the world’s population and thus represent today’s dominant human habitat, sustaining the social and economic engines of human civilization. Cities also represent dynamic biophysical and hydrological landscapes, which are characterized by extreme landscape heterogeneity, intense management of greenspace, the burial of surface water in grey infrastructure, and the application of irrigation water. Successful and equitable urban water resource management must therefore balance disparate goals at the intersection of the environment, society, industry, health, and policy. To do this, however, managers need an improved understanding of water and energy transfer processes in cities, particularly in soil-vegetation-atmosphere continuum of urban greenspace. This presentation will highlight several studies in Denver, Colorado and Portland, Oregon that provide new insights into these unique water-heat feedbacks in urban systems. The results show differences in irrigation practices among land uses and the impact of climate change in driving increased outdoor water demand in Denver, as well as opportunities for demand management through residential redevelopment. Results from Portland demonstrate the importance of moisture content and shading for street-level heat management, the utility of high-resolution land surface temperature and land cover data for air temperature modeling, and the combined influence of land cover composition and configuration on mediating city-scale heat transfer processes. Finally, the presentation will highlight ongoing work to better quantify fundamental urban biophysical processes and model the non-linear feedbacks between heat and water across cities with the goal of promoting equitable and sustainable urban water management as climate change and redevelopment drive further changes in cities. 

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