The Avalon Lab

We provide scientific analysis and guidance to reduce risk, promote sustainable practices, and enhance resilience. We work with government bodies, academic institutions, civil society organizations, policy-makers, and practitioners to address challenges and inform decision-making for a sustainable future.

Current Projects

Increasing global environmental difficulties challenge humanity. Scientific, engineering, and open dialogue solutions, have the capacity to help us examine and plan our direction as a species living on this planet.

Urban Flooding

The problem: Urban flooding is a frequent problem affecting cities around the world. The problem is more significant now that the climate is changing and urbanization trends are increasing.

What are we doing: We are developing models and alert systems that can provide estimates of potential flood areas before the storm.

What for: To inform decision-makers about flooding areas, pavement maintenance, and social vulnerability potential in the affected areas.


The problem: Landslides are among the most common disasters worldwide, frequently leading to considerable economic losses and fatalities. Landslide vulnerability has increased due to urbanization patterns over the past decades, given that at least half of the world’s urban occupants settle at the outskirts of cities at the base of unstable slopes.

What are we doing: We are conducting numerous studies in different geographical regions to develop rainfall thresholds, landslide probability indices, and spatiotemporal mapping of risk.

What for: We are teaming up with global entities (GEO, UNDRR) to help inform decision-makers about the importance and application of Earth Observations for the prevention of landslide impact.

Climate Change Resilience

The problem: Climate change brings significant disruptions to our way of living. The ability of a city to adapt to these changes can contribute immensely to its resilience.

What are we doing: We are working with The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and various experts to determine climate change projections, impacts and how NYS can prepare for those changes.

What for: To provide science and information that will allow decision- makers at all levels to make informed choices about their future.


At the Avalon Lab, we see science as a process that requires innovation, passion, collaboration, and discovery. A process with the power to transform humanity’s reality and ensure our survival.

Wildfires Affiliation/collaboration: NASA GSFC – NASA DEVELOP APPLIED SCIENCES

Fires are driven by many different factors like weather conditions, topographic features, and fuels. In the case of the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska, vegetation change is a very influential factor. To determine the relative risk of fire on the peninsula, this NASA Applied Sciences study incorporated some of these factors into a machine-learning algorithm that learns from previous fire events and predicts the probability of future ones.

Rainfall Triggered Landslide Hazards Affiliation/collaboration: Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Despite great advances in remote sensing technologies, accurate satellite information is sometimes challenged in tropical regions where dense vegetation prevents the instruments from retrieving reliable readings. We introduce a satellite-based landslide rainfall threshold for the country of Colombia by studying 4 years of rainfall measurements from The Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS) for 346 rainfall-triggered landslide events. In the absence of satellite antecedent soil moisture data, this threshold helps describe the interactions between rainfall and slope angle. We name it, the Landslide Triggering Factor—LTF.

Environmental Sustainability Affiliation/collaboration: Group on Earth Observations (GEO)

Big Data, Small Island: Earth Observations for Improving Disaster Risk Reduction The Caribbean region is highly vulnerable to multiple hazards. Resultant impacts may be derived from single or multiple cascading risks caused by hydrological-meteorological, seismic, geologic, or anthropological triggers, disturbances, or events. Studies suggest that event records and data related to hazards, risk, damage, and loss are limited in this region. National Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) planning and response require data of sufficient quantity and quality to generate actionable information, statistical inferences, and insights to guide continual policy improvements for effective DRR, national preparedness, and response in both time and space.


In The Avalon lab, education is a tool for integral development where teaching and learning are mutually dependent processes crucial for the overall growth of students and their connection with the world. We equip students with the essential skills that would allow them to seamlessly navigate the path to becoming confident, and independent learners, thinkers, feelers, and doers.


Dr. C. Avalon Cullen - Lead Scientist - Physical Scientist and Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Earth, and Environmental Sciences at the City University of New York (CUNY). She is actively involved in interdisciplinary research, integrating Earth Observations (EO), data science, machine learning, and statistics. As the Co-Chair of the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Working Group 3 within the Group of Earth Observations (GEO), she investigates the connections between climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and the application of satellite observations for global disaster risk reduction and resilience efforts. Additionally, she contributes her expertise as a member of the Technical Working Groups advising the New York State Climate Impacts Assessment, focusing on understanding and preparing for the impacts of a changing climate.

News & Press

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Landsat imagery courtesy of USGS/NASA Landsat