Zhao receives NSF CAREER award

1/14/2022 3:22:27 PM

Lei Zhao

CEE assistant professor Lei Zhao has been awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award to continue his work in establishing and advancing a new transformative interdisciplinary field – climate-sensitive urban science and engineering (CUSE).

Zhao will develop a novel hybrid urban modeling framework that combines process-based modeling and physics-informed deep learning approaches to advance knowledge in the area of climate-driven risks to built environments and climate adaptation strategies. This project will establish a foundation for climate-sensitive urban planning and adaptation; and provide critical information and scientific guidance for policymakers, local practitioners and stakeholders to make informed decisions for urban sustainability, resilience and risk management.

Zhao’s research concerns the physical and engineering processes in the Atmospheric Boundary Layer where most human activities and environmental systems are concentrated, with a particular focus on built surfaces and urban environments. He combines theory, numerical modeling, remote sensing and in situ observations, and cutting-edge machine learning methods to study environmental fluid mechanics and land-atmosphere dynamics that relate to urban environments, urban climatology and hydrology, climate change, climate impacts and adaptation.

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.”