Climate change is posing serious challenges to our communities, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East (EMME) region that has been classified by IPCC and WHO as a global “climate hot-spot” with particularly high vulnerability to climate change impacts. Furthermore, this region is experiencing robust urbanization that is putting a strain on social and environmental holding. Taking effective mitigation actions is mandatory to aim to respect the Paris Agreement, but, at the same time, communities and our cities must embrace adaptation actions to limit the consequences of climate-induced phenomena.
In this regard, available climate modelling offers useful prediction scenarios to estimate future climate projections that can be used for properly designing effective adaptation strategies. Weather research and forecasting (WRF) models bridge the gaps between mesoscale and microscale modelling and offer climate predictions with a spatial resolution of 1 km or 500 m, and further (statistical, dynamic, and hybrid) downscaling methods could, at least in theory, provide a representation of main meteorological variables at an even finer granularity of 100 to 30 m.
Moreover, microclimate simulation software is a versatile, cost-effective, customizable solution for virtually testing and refining adaptation strategies at the urban scale. However, these tools are affected by limitations in the type of strategies that can currently be modelled, by the heat transfer mechanisms that can be solved, by the numerical schemes available, by strong numerical approximations of complex analytical formulations, and by computationally-expensive needs for simulation.
Focussing on temperature extremes and heatwaves, which are getting more intense and frequent in the EMME region, the purpose of this doctoral research is to evaluate the reliability of microclimate simulation tools in representing heat stress at the urban scale through the comparison with urban climate observations collected in a relevant case study. Leveraging on the outcomes of climate modelling and prediction (WRF and newer downscaling methods), the physical fidelity of urban microclimate modelling will be estimated considering the increasing detail of the spatial representation of meteorological variables with a granularity of 1 km, 500 m, 100 m, and 30 m.
The research is expected to:
review common microclimate simulation tools and assess their reliability in modeling heat stress at the urban scale caused mostly by temperature extremes and heat waves
provide information on the trade-off between the physical fidelity in representing (sensible and latent) energy flows and temperature fields in urban neighbourhoods and the computational effort required to process computationally-intensive simulations of urban areas under the increasing detail of the spatial representation of meteorological variables
exploit the microclimate model capability for generating required urban properties for the WRF urban parametrizations for a specific city
design and test virtually effective adaptation strategies for the city of Nicosia to limit the heat stress due to temperature extremes and heatwaves under current weather and future climate projections
Coordination of the PhD
The PhD project will be jointly supervised by Prof. Salvatore Carlucci, Leader of the Simulation for Built Environment (SBE) Group at the Energy, Environment and Water Research Center (EEWRC), and Assoc. Prof. Panos Hadjinicolaou of the Environmental Prediction Dept. (EPD) at the Climate and Atmosphere Research Centre (CARE-C).
Qualifications and Application Process
We are looking for recent MSc graduates of Physical Sciences or Engineering. The students are expected to have strong analytical skills and background or experience in mathematics and computing. The preferred candidates will also have good communication and interpersonal skills. Proficiency in oral and written English is essential.
Applicants should also refer to additional information about admission requirements which can be found on the website of CyI under the PhD in Energy, Environment and Atmospheric Sciences Admissions section. When applying through the online application, in Step 2 of the application under the section Scholarship or Financial Aid: “Specific PhD Project” applicants should enter the project reference code GS-EAS-EMME-20-5 in the Project Code field. Applicants should also mention in their statement of intent that they are applying for the PhD position with reference code: GS-EAS-EMME-20-5 otherwise their application for this position may not be considered.
The regular application deadline for admission for Fall 2021 is 1st of April 2021 (for all applicants) and the late application deadline is 3rd of July 2021 (for EU applicants and international students that do not require a visa). Please refer to our website for important details on the application deadlines.
Financial aid will be available for this project based on merit.