Auroop Ganguly, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
In the past, engineers were able to design electrical and water systems to handle weather extremes—heat waves, cold snaps, storms, and drought—simply by understanding and accounting for normal climate fluctuations. But climate change has made extreme events far less predictable in severity and frequency, making it harder to plan for them, says Ganguly.
He and his team are searching for trends in today’s extreme weather to give design engineers and public policymakers a more reliable basis for developing tomorrow’s infrastructure projects.
Spotting those trends requires the analysis of huge amounts of climate and engineering data, according to Ganguly. The trick, he says, is to “extract the small data that we care about”—instances of rare weather events and how they’ve changed from the storms and droughts of the past, and real and potential causes of infrastructure failure.
The ability to apply highly integrated computational analysis techniques to weather data makes Ganguly’s team uniquely suited to help cities and towns build greater structural resiliency.