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Research quenches thirst of urban areas

Professor D.J. Seo

Transforming water-related challenges into opportunities is key to making cities more livable.

Civil engineering Associate Professor D.J. Seo has received a four-year, $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant to improve the sustainability of large urban areas from extreme weather, urbanization, and climate change.

Dr. Seo and his research team will integrate data from advanced weather radar, innovative wireless sensors, and crowdsourcing of data via cellphone applications to create high-resolution modeling of urban water systems.

The resulting water prediction system will use cloud computing to produce a suite of products for flash-flood forecasting, inundation mapping, water quality forecasting, storm water management, urbanization impact assessment, and climate change impact assessment and adaptation.

The grant builds on Seo’s work to establish the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) radar system in North Texas. UT Arlington installed the first radar station in the region atop Carlisle Hall in 2012.

CASA provides weather data every minute compared to every five to six minutes with previous systems. It can focus on smaller areas, giving users more detailed information to better track storms and precipitation.

College of Engineering Dean Khosrow Behbehani believes the research will help create more sustainable urban environments.

“It will advance our understanding of urban sustainability and the associated challenges through the environmental, social, and economic needs of a large city,” Dr. Behbehani says.

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