The Phoenix metropolitan area provides a model urban laboratory for developing solutions applicable to hot, arid, rapidly growing desert cities around the world. As in many rapidly developing areas, water is the most limited resource. Long-term ASU research has centered on analyzing and testing practical strategies for managing quality water supplies under conditions of uncertainty and future growth. Results will benefit many other urban areas globally.
The Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology manages microbial communities that provide services to society. Most of the services make our society more environmentally sustainable: e.g., generating renewable energy, and making polluted water and soil clean. The microbial services also make humans healthier – directly and indirectly.
Through interdisciplinary projects integrating natural sciences, social science, and engineering, the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research project examines the effects of urbanization on a desert ecosystem and vice versa.
The Decision Center for a Desert City conducts climate, water, and decision research and develops innovative tools to bridge the boundary between scientists and decision makers and put their work into the hands of those whose concern is for the sustainable future of Greater Phoenix.
The Decision Theater Network actively engages researchers and leaders to visualize solutions to complex problems. The Network provides the latest expertise in collaborative, computing and display technologies for data visualization, modeling, and simulation. The Network addresses cross-disciplinary local, national and international issues by drawing on Arizona State University’s diverse academic and research capabilities.
This research will develop a biome classification system for streams to better understand how streams function and provide an ability to predict how streams will change from human and environmental factors.
Effects of Flow Regime Shifts, Antecedent Hydrology, Nitrogen Pulses and Resource Quantity and Quality on Food Chain Length in Rivers
The study will provide fundamental information on how the timing of floods and droughts across years influences water quality (nitrate inputs to rivers), primary production, and the production of animals higher in the food web, such as fish. The researchers will produce a synthesis of research in hydrology and ecology to improve the management of arid land rivers.
Multiscale Effects of Climate Variability and Change on Hydrologic Regimes, Ecosystem Function, and Community Structure in a Desert Stream and Its Catchment
This project focuses on using new statistical techniques that describe hydrological regimes, coupled with long-term measurements of stream structure and processes, to understand how shifts in climate and river discharge regimes on many time scales will influence the ecosystem.
Over the past several decades, hundreds of glaciers in mountainous regions have been melting, leaving behind new glacier lakes holding millions of cubic meters of water. Usually contained by dams of loose boulders and soil, these lakes present a risk of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). As the number and extent of these lakes grows, so does the flood risk for communities downstream of them, potentially leading to extensive loss of lives and severe damage to transport infrastructure, hydroelectric power facilities and agriculture. This project will look at the factors that lead to GLOFs, and the measures that local populations can take to adapt to this increasing threat.
Urban areas are vulnerable to extreme weather related events given their location, high concentration of people, and increasingly complex and interdependent infrastructure. Impacts of Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, and other disasters demonstrate not just failures in built infrastructure, they highlight the inadequacy of institutions, resources, and information systems to prepare for and respond to events of this magnitude. The Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network (UREx SRN) will develop a novel theoretical framework for integrating social, ecological, and technological system (SETS) dimensions for conceptualizing, analyzing, and supporting urban infrastructure decisions in the face of climatic uncertainty in a more holistic way.