Many urban ecosystem processes either consist of or are influenced by the state-of-the-atmosphere variables air temperature, humidity, and wind speed. These variables affect many issues that are directly important to people, such as energy use in buildings, human comfort and health in the outdoors, air quality, and growth of understory plants. The horizontal scale of interest for state-of-the atmosphere variables ranges from the smaller end of the micro scale (meters) to the mid-local scale in urban meteorology terms, that is, up to 3 to 5 km. At the microscale, radiation transmission and exchanges in different wavebands -- total solar, photosynthetically active (PAR, essentially equivalent to the visible), ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and thermal - are also important to urban life and energy budgets. Understanding urban ecosystems and applying that understanding to urban management requires not only an assessment of general climate in the region, but also an understanding of the influences of vegetation and building morphology on climate variables along with the development of predictive models of these influences. Observation of the atmospheric variables and energy exchanges through long-term monitoring and model development to explain their spatial differences is the goal of this research. Understanding of the influence of urban land covers and patch types at the local scale is facilitated by observations of the integrated effects of different urban areas on vertical fluxes of energy and mass from above-canopy sensor platforms. The meteorology team is carrying out or planning a variety of studies, essentially all of which impact on other BES research and education efforts. Some of the studies have included work with representatives of CAPLTER to develop comparisons between the Baltimore- and Phoenix-based urban LTER's.
What is the general influence of urban development in the Baltimore region on air temperature regimes over the last century and how does the urban influence in the humid Baltimore region differ from a dry desert region?
What are the differences in wind speed, air temperature, humidity, and turbulence between points in different patch types?
How do differences in wind speed, air temperature, humidity, and turbulence (dependent variables) differ with upwind building and vegetation morphology, atmospheric thermal stability, and vapor pressure deficit (independent variables) and how can predictive models be developed for extrapolation across the urban area?
How does the urban atmosphere influence the above-canopy solar radiation in Baltimore, especially in the UVB waveband, which is strongly influenced by aerosol scattering and ozone in the troposphere?
How do built structures and vegetation characteristic of Baltimore, along with the Baltimore urban atmosphere, influence solar irradiance on surfaces, including people, in below-canopy spaces; and how can predictive models be developed for the different wavebands of solar energy?
How do the differences in atmospheric conditions and solar radiation caused by differences in urban built and vegetative structure integrate to affect the human environment, such as by affecting outdoor thermal comfort?
How do vertical fluxes of sensible and latent heat, momentum, ozone, and CO2 differ with patch type?