Outline of the Area

Creating a Sustainable and Comfortable Future Society in Harmony with Nature

Simulation science and data science have greatly advanced in recent years. Along with their development, creating a future society that highly integrates information and the real world has become a hot topic. In this future society, autonomous systems connected to networks work together to maintain optimal conditions for the society. We can picture autonomous drones flying in the air and various assistance robots walking around the city.

The optimal conditions here do not mean that the society is safe and comfortable only for the people; it denotes a sustainable condition in harmony with nature, namely, the environment and ecosystems. In this optimal condition, the decline in productivity and ability to prevent disasters caused by global warming, environmental destruction, heat island phenomena, and an aging society is overcome; people can live safely and creatively in a sustainable and comfortable community in harmony with nature.

The myriad of autonomous drones and other systems surrounding the people constantly access meteorological information in cyberspace. This infrastructure integrates the meteorology in the past, present, and future reproduced in cyberspace with social network information. In the meantime, part of the real-time sensing data for autonomous control is assimilated into the meteorological prediction simulation and used to guarantee the reliability of the meteorological information infrastructure. That is to say, the prediction simulation and myriad of autonomous systems act in concert to build the meteorological information infrastructure. A simple connection to the network would allow all systems and equipment to have easy access to this infrastructure. Autonomous systems can provide social services, unintrusively, to resolve diverse social issues in accordance with the constantly and intricately changing meteorology and society while in harmony with nature.

Fig. 1 Autonomous Society in Harmony with Nature
To maintain a sustainable, safe, and comfortable society, myriads of collaborating autonomous systems constantly access the meteorological information infrastructure and keep turning the feedback loop of measurement, prediction, and control of nature and society.

Micro-meteorology, the Key to Realizing the Future Society

In realizing this future society, the concept of micro-meteorology plays a critical role, as it links directly with human life. Micro-meteorology deals with the atmospheric conditions immediately above the earth’s surface up to approximately 100 m in height, which is strongly affected by buildings and human activities.
Regrettably, however, it is undeniable that the prediction and monitoring technologies for micro-meteorology are yet to be developed. The current meteorological prediction simulation does not have sufficient resolution and substantially simplifies the physical processes. It cannot reflect the effects of urban buildings and constantly changing human activities nor can it reproduce the micro-meteorology ywithin a city block or other livelihood zone. Even if the resolution is improved, the calculation would still cost a great amount, so micro-meteorology would not be predicted in real-time (prediction bottleneck). Moreover, there is no practical means to monitor the constantly changing micro-meteorology and the human activities in that scale in detail (monitoring bottleneck).

Accordingly, the Area intends to resolve the prediction bottleneck by combining the ultrahigh definition micro-meteorological simulation with AI technology. This simulation technology can resolve buildings and tree tops and calculate not only artificial exhaust heat but also the three-dimensional thermal radiation processes in detail. The combined technology will enable harmonic prediction adapting to the ever-changing social activities in real-time. In addition, the Area plans to resolve the monitoring bottleneck by active monitoring realized by a multitude of collaborating mobile drones and adaptability to the ever-changing environment.

Nevertheless, the “time-space scale and accuracy” required in reality cannot be defined solely by the technical specifications of combined prediction and monitoring. They need to be determined by considering the social issues in question and the requirements of responding future social services (exit) with the technical specifications of the combined prediction, monitoring, and control.

To this end, the Area assumes two tasks that would lead to future social services. Task 1 is to deal with the recent heat stroke problem. It works on simultaneously minimizing the heat stress experienced by pedestrians in the city block and that experienced by the crowd as a whole.

Task 2 is to work on Hot Air Recirculation (HAR) - the problem arising at large plants - and minimize loss by predicting its occurrence. In large plants processing natural gas, petroleum, and petrochemicals, abnormally hot exhaust mass from the upwind is drawn into the heat exchangers and other equipment downwind, which would result in an unexpected decline in performance. The decline in production caused by HAR phenomena has resulted in huge economic losses worldwide. The Area plans to operate all equipment in optimal conditions based on the micro-meteorological prediction data and realize efficient operation to maximize the production in total.

To achieve these two tasks, we need to assess the impact of micro-meteorology on people and society and elucidate the meteorological scale phenomena themselves. To this end, the Area intends to make clear the “time-space scale and accuracy,” considering the tradeoffs between the social values of the prediction data that improve with lead time and the prediction accuracy that deteriorates over time. By sharing them when we combine the harmonic prediction technology and active monitoring technology, we will build a micro-meteorological prediction system that will constantly produce value for society. We also aim to create a new academic area “micro-meteorology control” based on the combination of observation, prediction, and control, which reflects the achievements of this research.