Lombardo wins CAREER award to advance thunderstorm risk assessment

2/11/2022 9:52:23 AM

Frank LombardoCEE assistant professor Franklin T. Lombardo has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award. Lombardo will work to advance thunderstorm risk assessment in a structural and wind engineering context.

CAREER awards, administered under the Faculty Early Career Development Program, are the NSF’s most prestigious form of support and recognition for junior faculty who “exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”

Winds generated from thunderstorms are responsible for a significant proportion of windstorm losses. Buildings and other structures are designed based on full-scale measurements in atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) flow. The limited wind speed data collected on thunderstorm winds near the ground show they possess different properties than the ABL, which in turn influences wind loading on structures. Due to the lack of full-scale wind speed data, the results of numerical and experimental simulations are difficult to validate.

Through his CAREER research, Lombardo will obtain comprehensive field measurements that will fill critical gaps in spatial and temporal scales and include joint measurements of wind speed and wind loading. These measurements will be assimilated into new and updated engineering models and frameworks for thunderstorms. Engaging and education the public on the importance of thunderstorms will tackled through a citizen science program, K-12 outreach activities and local media interviews.  Lombardo will also collaborate with the NSF-supported Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) wind engineering facilities at Florida International University and the University of Florida to stimulate research in computational and experimental wind engineering.  

Lombardo joined the faculty of UIUC’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2015. He is a faculty affiliate in atmospheric sciences. His research interests are wind engineering, extreme wind characterization, bluff body aerodynamics, resilience and structural damage.

Assistant professor Lei Zhao also received a recent NSF CAREER Award. Learn about his award here.