Urban Climate News

New UCRC Publication in Nature Climate Change

A team of researchers from ASU’s Urban Climate Research Center recently published a high-profile article exploring the potential for mitigation strategies to affect urban air temperatures in the context of ongoing urban expansion and climate change.

The paper: “Diurnal interaction between urban expansion, climate change and adaptation in US cities,” by Scott Krayenhoff, Mohamed Moustaoui, Ashley Broadbent, Vishesh Gupta, and Matei Georgescu was published in Nature Climate Change earlier this month (Nov 12, 2018). The abstract follows:

Climate change and urban development are projected to substantially warm US cities, yet dynamic interaction between these two drivers of urban heat may modify the warming. Here, we show that business-as-usual GHG-induced warming and corresponding urban expansion would interact nonlinearly, reducing summer night-time warming by 0.5 K over the twenty-first century in most US regions. Nevertheless, large projected warming remains, particularly at night when the degree of urban expansion warming approaches that of climate change. Joint, high-intensity implementation of adaptation strategies, including cool and evaporative roofs and street trees, decreases projected daytime mean and extreme heat, but region- and emissions scenario-dependent nocturnal warming of 2–7 K persists. A novel adaptation strategy—lightweight urban materials—yields ~1 K night-time cooling and minor daytime warming in denser areas. Our findings highlight the diurnal interplay of urban warming and adaptation cooling, and underscore the inability of infrastructure-based adaptation to offset projected night-time warming, and the consequent necessity for simultaneous emissions reductions.

Read the full article.

Award Winning Presentations at ICUC-10/14th Urban Symposium

Congratulations to Peter Crank (School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning) and Saud Al Khaled (Design School) and many other students, postdocs, and faculty for representing ASU and the Urban Climate Research Center so well at the joint 10th International Conference on Urban Climate (ICUC-10) and  14th AMS Symposium on the Urban Environment held in NYC this summer (2018).

Peter was honored with an “Oral Best Presentation Award” for his talk on “Behaviors and Risk Perceptions of Elderly Populations in the Face of Extreme Heat and Poor Air Quality — a Comparison Across Three Sunbelt Cities”. Saud received an “Oral Presentation Honourable Mention Award” for his talk on “A Systematic Review of Urban Heat Mitigation Strategies in Hot Urban Deserts”.

All oral presentations were recorded by AMS and will be available to AMS members online later in 2018 at https://www.ametsoc.org/index.cfm/ams/meetings-events/ under “Watch Recorded Presentations”.

Jannik Heusinger gives first SGSUP Colloquium of year

Detecting, mitigating, and adapting to localized heat and cold in cities

Tuesday, August 28, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Location: COOR 5536

For the first colloquium of the 2018-2019 school year, we are excited to welcome Jannik Heusinger as our first speaker. A postdoctoral researcher with the Urban Climate Research Center, Jannik’s work focuses on urban heat mitigation and urban surface-atmosphere exchange.

His talk is titled “Detecting, mitigating, and adapting to localized heat and cold in cities.”

About the talk:

Urban climatologists work on describing the climate within a very complex and ever-evolving system – the city. Our motivation is to increase the well-being of humans living within this system. In Phoenix, our work concentrates on understanding the effect of different materials and their geometric arrangements on localized heat, with the goal of being able to accurately model physical dynamics of the urban climate system. Analogous challenges exist in higher latitudes where cold thermal environments pose challenges, which are underrepresented in the scientific literature and discourse.

In this seminar, Jannik will share contributions to the study of hot and cold environments in cities as part of ASU’s Urban Climate Research Center. In addition to highlighting particular research initiatives, he will raise questions about how we can more holistically think about increasing the well-being of humans’ thermal experiences in cities, working toward adaptation and mitigation in both hot and cold environments.

UCRC Pilot Funding Opportunity for AY 2018-19

The UCRC will be making available small awards to affiliated faculty to provide support that will increase the visibility of faculty and the center as well as enhance the ability of the center and its faculty affiliates to secure external research funding and generate high-profile publications. As a general rule, each request can be for up to $4k and should not include salary support for faculty. Examples of appropriate categories of requests include but are not limited to:

  • Summer funding for undergraduate or graduate students to gather data or further the goals of a developing project
  • Software license fees or data set, ideally for a resource that can be shared across the center
  • Small items or minor equipment that would be of general benefit to the UCRC
  • Travel support for faculty or students to attend and present at high profile conferences/meetings

We will accept requests twice each academic year with this year’s deadlines being 5pm MST Friday September 14, 2018 and Friday March 15, 2019. Only current faculty affiliates of the UCRC are eligible, and a faculty member may not receive more than one award per AY. Requests should be no more than 1 page in length, although attachments may be included as appropriate (e.g. a 2-pg CV for any students involved in the request). The proposal (pdf) should be sent to jpinhorn@asu.edu and must include the following:

  • Contact—include name of faculty affiliate requesting funds, school, and contact email
  • Purpose – provide a brief background of why the funds are being requested and how they advance the faculty member’s research and the goals of the center
  • Budget – provide an informal but specific budget indicating the total amount of the request and specifically, how the funds are to be spent.

The budget for the UCRC Pilot Project Fund is $16k for the 2018-2019 academic year. A small panel from our leadership team will review requests and make recommendations. Our goal is to have final decisions announced within 3 weeks of the proposal deadline.

Please keep in mind that we expect all UCRC faculty affiliates to work to promote the success of the center, including by acknowledging this affiliation in presentations/publications and by associating relevant ASU proposal activities with our Center Code:CC1042; Urban Climate Research Center.


Mike Chester to give closing keynote address at the 2018 ISSST Meeting

The 2018 International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST) meeting is being held in Buffalo New York, June 26-28. ASU’s own Mikhail (Mike) Chester will be delivering the closing keynote address for the meeting. Dr. Chester is Associate Professor in Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering, and a Senior Sustainability Scientist in the Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS). He is also an integral contributor to, and Faculty Affiliate of the Urban Climate Research Center (UCRC).

Dr. Chester’s Keynote is titled: Infrastructure and the Environment in the Anthropocene.

Conference information is available at: https://issst2018.net/


UCRC 2018 Poster Event Award Winners

UCRC POSTER EVENT 2018The UCRC recently hosted its inaugural Poster Event, April 3rd, at the MU. Five ASU schools were represented along with 2 collaborating institutions: University of Southern California & Georgia Tech providing a total of 22 posters. Judging was completed late last week and all award winners were notified early this week. Awards were given to the following:

  • 1st Place in the Postdoctoral Researcher category – Ashley Broadbent (SGSUP), poster title: Do Photovoltaics Impact Local Air Temperature and Surface Energy Balance?
  • 1st Place in the Graduate Student category – Chenghao Wang (SSEBE), poster title: Solution or Problem? Effects of Urban Trees on the Turbulent Transport of Airborne Pollutant from Traffic Emission
  • 2nd Place in the Graduate Student Category – Yun Li (USC), poster title: The Impacts of Urbanization on Meteorology and Air Quality in Southern California
  • 3rd Place in Graduate Student Category – Saud AlKhaled (TDS), poster title: Between Aspiration and Actuality: A Systematic Review of Urban Heat Mitigation Strategies in Hot Urban Deserts.

A unique component to this poster event was the opportunity to have several presenters participate by Skype. This gave ASU participants the opportunity to interact with students from around the country who are engaged in urban climate collaborations with ASU researchers.


Chenghao Wang: 1st Place Grad Student    Ashley Broadbent: 1st Place Postdoc

Chenghao Wang Ashley Broadbent

Qunshan Zhao wins Nystrom Award!

Qunshan Zhao recieving awardAt the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) in New Orleans, ASU’s Qunshan Zhao was awarded the prestigious AAG J. Warren Nystrom Award “for his 2017 dissertation: Impact of tree locations and arrangements on outdoor microclimates and human thermal comfort in an urban residential environment”.


Dr. Zhao’s work was performed under the guidance of his dissertation committee: Elizabeth Wentz (Chair), David Sailor, and Zhihua Wang, all affiliates of the UCRC.

Research Highlight: Dave Sailor receives Best Paper and Editor’s Choice Awards from Building and Environment

The Editors of the Elsevier journal Building and Environment (Impact Factor 4.1) have announced their .

The journal’s Editors selected 9 articles that best represent the aims and the scope of this international publication, covering the main topics. The Journal is focused on new knowledge, rigorously verified with measurement and analysis, related to the environmental performance of the built environment in a wide range of spatial scales, ranging from building systems and assemblies to buildings, communities and cities as well as other built environments such as transportation.

UCRC Director Dave Sailor’s article “Effectiveness of indoor plants for passive removal of indoor ozone”, co-authored with his former PhD student (Omed Abbass) and another colleague at Portland State University (Elliott Gall) was among the 9 articles selected for this honor. This article had previously been selected as a “Best Paper of 2017” for the journal.

Very exciting news!

The article can be found (open access) at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2017.04.007

Challenge Accepted!

Back in June of 2017 the Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the “Mayors Challenge” where US cities with populations of 30,000 or more were invited to participate in a competition with the potential to win up to $5 million, and realize their best ideas and innovations in response to urgent challenges being faced. Roughly 300 cities responded.

Led by Mayor Stanton, the City of Phoenix developed their bid: “Holistic Management of Urban Heat”. This week Phoenix was announced as one of the 35 winning “” and will receive $100,000 to bring their ideas to life.

The problem posed by the city of Phoenix entry is: increasing urban heat threatens the health and well-being of vulnerable residents in Phoenix – the third hottest city in the U.S – as well as its long-term economic viability, yet the city lacks a cohesive strategy to address this major risk. The proposed solution is: the city of Phoenix will create a first-of-its-kind HeatReady program (like programs developed for storms) to enable local governments to holistically manage how they identify, prepare for, mitigate, track, and respond to the dangers of urban heat.

This endeavor was supported by a number of ASU faculty, staff, and students, including UCRC faculty affiliate David Hondula. Moving forward, this effort will be a collaborative venture engaging regional partners from a number of sources including the National Weather Service as well as, local and state health departments.

Next steps will include a convening of Champion Cities in an intensive workshop with innovation experts and leading urban practitioners from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ global network. Here competitors will become collaborators as cities help one another improve their ideas.

In October 2018, one of these cities will be awarded $5 million and another 4 cities will each receive $1 million to further develop and implement their plans.

Best of luck to the city of Phoenix, and congratulations for the vision that has brought them this far already!

UCRC Student Poster Competition

We are excited to announce the call for abstracts for the UCRC 1st Annual Student Poster Competition on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at the Memorial Union, Alumni Lounge, Room #202.

The intent of this poster competition is to showcase the breadth of work around issues of urban climate at ASU. This includes all social and physical science aspects of urban climate and its interaction with society and infrastructure.

Poster Presentation


Eligible participants:

The poster session is intended to highlight urban climate research from undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs. Completed research is preferred. Posters outlining research not yet conducted must provide sufficient details on research design.

Abstract requirements:

Maximum 250 words

Important dates:

Abstract submission deadline: February 23, 2018

Notification of acceptance: February 28, 2018

Electronic submission and printing deadline: March 28, 2018

Follow this link to submit your Poster Abstract:
Submit your Abstract


We will be able to print your poster if you submit by March 28, 2018.


Two categories will be awarded: honor and merit awards. Honor awards will come with a monetary prize.