Historical and current research continues to suggest that the urban environment itself (e.g., land cover, pollution) may initiate or alter convective storms. Additionally, impervious land cover in cities alters surface hydrological processes. Questions like "do cities create their own storms?" or "did Atlanta's urban land cover enhance historic flood levels?" are not only relevant and but increasingly well-understood.
Precipitation is a key link in the global water cycle and a proxy for changing climate; therefore, proper assessment of the urban environment's impact on precipitation (land use, aerosols, thermal properties) will be increasingly important in ongoing climate diagnostics and prediction, Global Water and Energy Cycle (GWEC) analysis and modeling, weather forecasting, freshwater resource management, urban planning-design, and land-atmosphere-ocean interface processes. These facts are particularly critical if current projections for global urban growth are accurate. Dr. Shepherd will present the most current scientific thinking and methodologies for studying urban effects on the hydroclimate. He will provide a particular emphasis on how physical attributes of land cover, aerosols, and urban morphology modify precipitation processes (via cloud dynamics, microphysics, etc.). The discussion will also provide insight on future direction and implications for stakeholders and policymakers.