News at Princeton

Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

Multimedia: Featured

Video: Global lessons from Princeton's microclimate


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Professor Bou-Zeid is mapping the microclimate of the campus to better understand how local environments affect the global climate. Read more.


Video Closed Captions


ELIE BOU-ZEID: When I was
doing my undergraduate

education in mechanical
engineering, I was very

fascinated by fluid mechanics.

Air and water are fluids and
they flow with a very complex

pattern in the environment.

And I was drawn to apply this
knowledge of fluid mechanics

to environmental problems. The
aim of this project is to

study three aspects: energy,
water and carbon in the

environment of Princeton.

Locally, we would like our
sensing technologies in our

models to be combined to make
our buildings smarter and more

energy efficient.

The idea of these meteorological
stations is

that you want to build
them as cheaply

and simply as possible.

Currently, we have about 12
stations around the Princeton

campus, and we are looking
to increase

this to 20 or 30 stations.

These are computer model
outputs of the surface

temperature over Princeton.

What we see is first, Lake
Carnegie, which is hotter than

the Earth's surface during
the night, and

cooler during the day.

And if you look at the Earth's
surface, you will see that the

vegetative parts always
cooler than the built

terrain or the buildings.

If we keep zooming down, we can
get to the level of one

individual building.

We can then simulate the air
flow around this building and

observe how the presence of this
building will create a

lot of turbulence around it,
which means a lot of mixing of

pollutants and heat and other
things in built terrain.

Global climate models will tell
you what's happening at

the very large scale.

What we try to do is downscale
these climate predictions to

the local level.

So we want to see how a small
city will respond to a climate

change given by these global
climate models.

The wonderful thing about
academia is that you wake up

in the morning, and you go to
work knowing that today, you

will learn something new, or
you might even discover

something completely fascinating
every day.


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