July 6, 2011
The urban climate studies internship at the Chinese University of Hong Kong has been a challenging and engaging experience thus far. I have found the work exciting and the city life as vibrant and lively as I last remembered it from study abroad. However, the most prominent thing that comes to mind first with the experience is the summer environment of Hong Kong.
The first week of the hot, humid weather was a jolt to the system and, combined with the jet-lag, required some adjustment time. The air-conditioning in most of the buildings and public transportation helped, but there had also been a lot of time spent outdoors in the harsh weather navigating the campus of CUHK as well as the streets of the city. In contrast, the reception from my professor and his lab group of graduate students and post-doctoral researchers was very friendly and welcoming, which assisted me greatly with the transition.
With regards to the internship work, initially I felt a bit overwhelmed with what was presented to me: The project involves conducting a computational fluid dynamics analysis on a 20 km square area of Hong Kong using the Earth Simulator super computer in Japan. There are many essential tasks to be done before running the analysis as well. For me, getting started was the most difficult part as I required a few days to rediscover the ArcGIS software used to collect some of the necessary topographical input data. After becoming familiar with the software, the next challenge was, and still partially is, determining the best way of dealing with the large amounts of data that are being collected for the analysis. Luckily, my background with MATLAB as a civil engineering student has facilitated some of the processing and formatting by way of automation. Though there have been some slow days and frustrating moments, I have been able to complete most of the first part of my work, and I am now starting on the second part.