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Xingran Gao

Xingran Gao

PhD candidate

Xingran's research focused on using the model to assess the aerosol influence on the urban weather and climate both in recent and future years.



  • 2018-Present University of Cambridge PhD in Environmental Modelling in the Department of Geography


Air pollution in the form of aerosols not only reflect and absorb radiation but also alter cloud properties and precipitation. Pollution plumes in urban areas can have a large effect on local temperatures and climate. Numerical models are needed to quantify aerosol effects. Predictions for future climate require global climate models. Climate models, however, include only a crude representation of aerosol effects and do not represent urban pollution plumes. However, climate models cannot resolve spatial scales that are relevant for urban areas. Dynamical downscaling with a regional model can be used to provide the necessary details on smaller spatial scales. The case study of the urban climate situation is focused on Chongqing, located in the Sichuan Basin of China. Chongqing has undergone rapid urbanisation over the last 20 years. Chongqing is one of the most polluted cities in China, with over 30 million people living in the area.

This PhD project will continue previous work on the dynamical downscaling of climate for the Sichuan Basin and Chongqing. To test the ability of the regional model WRF to represent the regional and urban climate, WRF will be forced with the present-day situation from reanalysis data and a climate model. WRF output will be compared against available observations before being applied to future climate projections. However, WRF does not include the effects of air pollution. To assess the effects of aerosols on radiation and clouds an extended version of WRF, WRF-Chem, will be used. WRF-Chem can not only represent atmospheric chemistry but also aerosol particles and their interaction with radiation and clouds. Aerosol concentrations and emissions will be based on existing data sets and observations. Different future aerosol scenarios will be developed. The effects of aerosols on clouds and their radiative properties will be assessed.