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Megapolis – Heat And Pollution Island

Megapolis – Heat And Pollution Island

Laboratory of Urban Ecology and
Climate – interdisciplinary assessment of
the ecological state of the urban environment


The Laboratory of Urban Ecology and Climate, an interdisciplinary research unit within the Faculty of Geography at Moscow State University, aims to conduct an integrated assessment and analysis of pollution accumulation and diffusion in urban areas. 

The project, funded by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation through Agreement No. 075-15-2021-574, seeks to establish a scientific foundation for an interdisciplinary evaluation of the ecological condition of the megapolis, or "islands of heat and pollution," based on Moscow's example, utilizing modern physical and chemical field research methods and numerical simulations. 

The main goal of the Laboratory is to develop a system for integrated analysis of the urban environment. This involves combining systems for monitoring atmospheric pollution, precipitation, soil, road dust, and surface water. Laboratory also  develop advanced methods for modeling the dynamics of pollution from various pollutants. 

The laboratory conducts research on 6 different areas: 

  1. Development and implementation of methods for observing and numerically modeling urban pollution and the heat island effect at different timescales and spatial scales within the boundary layer of the atmosphere. 

  2. Analyzing landscapes and surface water, and how they interact with pollution. Analysis of the daily and seasonal dynamics of the formation and transformation of nanoparticles and microparticles with sizes less than 10 microns (particulate matter, PM10), less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), and less than 1 micron (PM1). 

  3. The study of the interactions between atmospheric aerosol particles and solar radiation, considering the morphology of urban environments, the forecasting and diagnosis of the dissemination of pollutants and aerosols of different origins with spatial precision to the scale of individual streets and buildings, as well as the assessment of potential health risks to the public.

  4. Another aspect that is being explored is the development of the concept of a planetary boundary layer for the territory of a megalopolis, with its complex processes of interaction between air mass flows and pollution.

  5. Identification and quantification of the levels of content and distribution of potentially toxic elements in microparticles found in components of the urban environment, such as atmospheric precipitation, snow, road dust, soil, and surface waterways.

  6. Development of an interdisciplinary approach to studying the migration of microparticles and potentially hazardous elements in urban environment components, based on the concepts of pollution and atmospheric heat islands.

The Laboratory of Urban Ecology and Climate is headed by Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor Minkina Tatyana Mikhailovna, a leading specialist in soil chemistry, geochemistry and biogeochemistry, monitoring and restoration of polluted ecosystems. 

The Laboratory's research team is composed of the largest experts in their fields of meteorology, climatology, landscape and surface water geochemistry, and medical geography in Russia. The Urban Ecology and Climate Laboratory serves as a platform for developing various methodological approaches, ranging from expeditionary field research to modeling. Different sciences, both geographical, physical, and mathematical, complement and enrich each other in this laboratory.

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