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Center for Environmental Sensing and Modeling (CENSAM) IRG

Lead PI: Professor Andrew Whittle
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The grand challenge of the centre for environmental sensing and modeling (CENSAM) is to provide proof of concepts in the paradigm of pervasive monitoring, modeling and control within the highly developed and carefully managed urban environment of Singapore.

Pervasive sensing provides a new paradigm for monitoring, modeling and control of natural and infrastructure systems that affect the environment. CENSAM aims to create a centre of excellence in environmental sensing and modeling that will demonstrate the importance of pervasive sensing through applications in the well managed urban environment of Singapore.

Long-term Goal
The long-term goal of CENSAM is to develop a representation of the natural and built environment that will seamlessly transition from micro-scale processes (at the level of an individual constructed facilities, 1-10km), to the meso-scale of the city-state of Singapore (10-100km) and the macrosystem of the coupled biosphere-atmosphere-ocean (at the regional scale, 100-1000km). Multiple resolution environmental models will assimilate remote sensing data from satellite and airborne platforms with ground observations from diverse sensor networks and mobile sub-marine AUV sensor platforms. The CENSAM brings together a multidisciplinary team of MIT faculty with researchers from Singaporean academic institutions and industry.
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A. Built and Natural Environment

Interactions Between The Built and Natural Environment
Conduct measurements and develop models of flows of energy between the built and natural environments. Measure and model sky luminance and radiance. Quantify the influence of Singapore residential forms on the local thermal environment (urban heat island).

Urban Airshed Measurements And Modelling
Measure and model airflows in the urban canopy layer. Develop MEMS-based airflow sensors for use with conventional sensors to monitor outdoor airflows in urban canyons and housing developments. Develop a model with a selected set of computational fluid dynamics programmes and simpler parameterised methods.

B. Urban Hydrology And Water Resources

Environmental Impacts of Regional Land Use Change
Design and install instrumented meteorological towers to measure the vertical flux density of carbon dioxide and water vapour above the forest canopy. When coupled with measurements of drainage and subsurface flows, these stations will provide control volume data for interpreting effects of land use change (deforestation etc) on local climatic conditions.

Wireless Sensor Networks For Monitoring Water Systems
Develop wireless sensor network capabilities to enable high date rate, real time monitoring of a large urban water distribution system. Assimilate real time measurements into hydraulic models to improve state estimation. Monitor hydraulic and water quality parameters enabling remote detection of leaks and real-time tracking of contamination events.

Near Source Contaminant Transport
Examine near-source sediment fate and transport, associated water quality degradation and mitigation, caused by dredging, land reclamation, flood control and water harvesting. Develop models based on experiments for the behaviour of dense particle clouds and plumes, under the influence of waves and currents.

C. Coastal Environment

Coastal Environment and Sediment Transport (CEST)
Develop small scale process models for sediment transport in the coastal environment. Verify these models through laboratory experimentation in facilities designed and built in Singapore. Develop linkages to properly account for and incorporate small scale processes in larger, systems level models.

D. Underwater and Marine Sensing

Chemical Sensors For AUVs
Develop Chemical sensors for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV). Using mass spectrometry to detect low molecular weight hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds to monitor pollution. Using laser-induced fluorescence to identify higher-molecular-weight hydrocarbons and to detect older oil spills and biological entities such as chlorophyll.

Underwater Optics
Develop high-speed holographic particle image velocimetry instruments to acquire 3D flow data from the motion of AUVs, optical instruments such as spectrometers for use inside AUVs; and theoretically and experimentally investigate improving visibility for optical imaging in the turbulent waters of the Singapore port.

Map-Based Navigation For Autonomous Marine Systems
Monitor and survey the Singapore Harbor area, using autonomous surface and underwater vehicles. Develop a system capable of individual and coordinated actions relative to feature maps, and adaptive sampling. Incorporate new acoustic communication and navigation systems. Explore broader ultrasonic propulsion.

MEMS Pressure Arrays For Near-Field Flow Patterns
Develop MEMS sensors and processing software that emulate and extend the capabilities of the lateral line in fish. Detect near-field flow patterns and near- and far-body obstacles and vehicles. Enable navigation in shallow-water and/or cluttered environments, and flow control in conventional and biomimetic vehicles.

Adaptive Sampling In Coastal Zone Environment
Develop and test algorithms for planning cooperative adaptive sampling of the coastal zone ocean environment. Assimilate data from sensors on multiple autonomous vehicles on buoys and on bottom mounted instruments. Create geometric models of underwater solid features using these sensors.

E. Integrated Environmental Models

Hydrologic Modeling And Data Assimilation
Develop urban canyon simulations and experiments to evaluate the effects of land use and building waste heat on the urban boundary layer. Implement a hydrologic model coupling surface runoff with a regional groundwater model to simulate tracer transport. Assimilate data with an atmospheric model estimating wind stresses at the surface of the South China Sea.

Coupled Atmosphere-Biosphere Modeling
Develop and test a regional atmosphere-biosphere model centered on Singapore. Enable better understanding of the climate around Singapore, the sensitivity to physical characteristics of islands and oceans, and predict how related processes such as global warming and deforestation affect the regional climate.

Ocean Modeling And Data Assimilation
Using the Finite Volume Coastal Ocean Model (FVCOM) simulate ocean circulation and property distributions. Validate with altimetric data and current velocity observations. Optimize design of observational arrays in the Singapore domain . Enable real time assimilation and forecasting capabilities for the Singapore region.

Cyber-Infrastructure For CENSAM
Develop a general data archive for multiple CENSAM research projects including both sensor and model generated data. Associate datasets with appropriate geospatial, sensor, accuracy, and access control metadata to optimize the data's utility, security, and longevity for present and future researchers.


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