Urban Climate News

Presentation: Professor Francisco Salamanca Palou at the MPAS/WRF Workshop

Francisco Salamanca Palou, Assistant Research Professor, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, June 10, 2019, presented “Summer and Wintertime Variations of the Surface and Near-surface UHI in a Semiarid Environment” to a joint MPAS/WRF workshop. Prepared by both Salamanca & colleague Alex Mahalov, Dean’s Distinguished Professor from the same school, Salamanca explained the motivation for this work stems from recent work done to augment the WRF-urban modeling system. Realizing that there was still additional work to complete, Salamanca and Mahalov set out to “examine summer- and wintertime variations of the surface and near-surface UHI for a semiarid urban environment using MODIS and near-surface meteorological observations.” Also, “to evaluate the WRF-urban modeling system’s (coupled to Noah-MP LSM) ability to reproduce the diurnal cycle of near-surface meteorology and LST during Salamanca News Julyboth summer and wintertime weather conditions.”


Sharing detailed modeling experiments, the author’s conclusions were:

  1. The Surface UHI is found to be higher at night and during the warm season.
  2. The morning Surface UHI is low and frequently exhibits an Urban Cool Island that increases during the summertime period.
  3. The Near-surface UHI is higher at night and during summertime.
  4. The morning Near-surface UHI is low but rarely exhibits an Urban Cool Island.
  5. WRF (coupled to Noah-MP) model tends to slightly underestimate surface skin temperature during daytime but overestimates nighttime values during wintertime.
  6. WRF (coupled to Noah-MP) model tends to accurately reproduce the diurnal cycle of near-surface air temperature and wind speed during summertime, but overestimate near-surface nighttime air temperature during wintertime.

The entire presentation is available at: http://www2.mmm.ucar.edu/wrf/users/workshops/WS2019/workshop19agenda.php

Urban Living Laboratory Session at AGU in December

We are pleased to announce that we are organizing a session to highlight “Living Laboratory Experiments for Innovations to Improve Human Health Outcomes in Warming and Growing Cities” at the upcoming Centennial meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), 9-13 December, 2019.

This session will focus on experiments to improve understanding of complex interacting urban environmental challenges (e.g., extreme heat, air pollution, urban flooding), with an emphasis on translation of knowledge into action to improve human health outcomes.

Two categories of experiments will be highlighted: natural experiments in which spatial or temporal variations in urban design, policies or surface characteristics result in markedly different environmental and human health outcomes; and designed experiments in which urban planners/managers, community stakeholders, and researchers collaborate in the co-design and implementation of strategies and technologies to affect urban environmental parameters with the end-goal of improving human health outcomes. In both cases presenters are asked to highlight lessons learned and barriers to effective urban environmental planning and mitigation efforts.

We look forward to receiving your abstracts for oral or poster presentation in this session!
ABSTRACT DEADLINE: 31 July 2019 23:59 EDT/03:59 +1 GMT.

Submit your abstract here!

Session ID 80729: Living Laboratory Experiments for Innovations to Improve Human Health Outcomes in Warming and Growing Cities

David Sailor and Paul Coseo, Arizona State University

Chanam Lee and Bruce Dvorak, Texas A&M University

Research Update: Lance Watkins

UCRC Director, Dr. David Sailor presenting Lance Watkins his 1st place, Graduate Category, for the 2019 UCRC Poster Competition
UCRC Director, Dr. David Sailor presenting Lance Watkins his 1st place, Graduate Category, for the 2019 UCRC Poster Competition.

Moving research along in the heat of the summer, Lance Watkins, 1st place winner of the spring 2019 UCRC poster competition (graduate student category), recently shared some of his updated findings. Lance is a PhD student with the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. His research focuses on extreme heat, urban climate, and utilizing geographical information science in decision-making.
Lance’s poster titled “Comparison of Two Vulnerability Indices to Household Experience with Extreme Heat in Phoenix, Arizona, posed the following questions.

1: To what extent do measures of vulnerability based on aggregate demographic indicators correlate with measures of vulnerability based on variables at the household level?

2: Which measure of vulnerability based on aggregate demographic indicators correlates more closely with measures of vulnerability based on variables at the household level, one based on an all-hazards model, or one that is hazard specific?

In between chasing early summer storms, Lance shared the following:

We found strong relationships between several of these variables and the Heat Vulnerability Index (HVI). Households in highly vulnerable census tracts as defined by HVI were less likely to have and use central AC, less likely to have immediate access to cooler outdoor environments, more likely to use alternative cooling strategies such as window AC units and window fans, and more likely to experience heat illness requiring medical attention. The Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) was associated with fewer survey variables. As defined by SoVI, households in more vulnerable areas in our sample were less likely to live in structurally cooler environments (e.g., limited access to basements and yards with grass), more likely to be of poorer health status, and more likely to have their home cooling be limited by the cost of repairing central AC. The differences between the two indices’ relationships with household scale variables underscores the importance of specifying the hazard of relevance when conducting a vulnerability or risk assessment.
In addition, our results suggest that, while aggregate-level vulnerability indices can help prioritize certain communities for intervention measures and future investments in structural changes in the social and built environments of cities, more precise data from households are valuable to inform the types of interventions and investments that can address the causal drivers of such vulnerability.

Lance intends to submit these findings to the journal of Applied Geography in the coming weeks.

Please take an Urban Heat Island Survey

Please consider taking a survey on “Understanding the Urban Heat Island Mitigation Strategies and Their Implementation”. The survey was developed by the National Center of Excellence for SMART Innovations at Arizona State University (ASU), with support from the National Asphalt Pavement Association. The survey seeks to obtain information and qualitative perspectives on UHI and proposed mitigation strategies from personnel in industry, academia, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and interested individuals.

 The survey will take about 10-15 minutes to complete; all the information collected is anonymous, however a summary of findings will be made available upon request.

 Please contact Dr. Jose Campillo (jrmedina@asu.edu) or Mr. Chenghao Wang (cwang210@asu.edu) for additional information or future inquiries.

Here is the link to the survey

2019 Poster Event Results

Congratulations to all 25 of our student/postdoc researchers on a job well-done in preparing and delivering your posters at our 2nd annual Urban Climate Research Center poster event on March 27, 2019.

After tallying the judges results, we are pleased to announce the winners as follows:

  • Graduate Student Category:
    • 1st Place – Lance Watkins (SGSUP), poster title: Comparison of Two Vulnerability Indices to Household Experiences with Extreme Heat in Phoenix Arizona
    • 2nd Place – Saud AlKhaled (TDS), poster title: Predictors of Urban Induced Heating under the full Evolution of the Diurnal Cycle
    • 3rd Place – Nicholas Weller (SOS), poster title: Mapping Public Values about Climate Adaptation and Resilience using Deliberative Forums.
  • Postdoctoral Researcher category
    • 1st Place – Ashley Broadbent (SGSUP), poster title: Adaptation to Projected 21st Century Heatwaves in three U.S. Cities
  • Undergraduate Student Category
    • 1st Place – Sarthak Gupta (SGSUP), poster title: Quantifying Urban Encroachment on Forest Land using Machine Learning with Remote Sensing.

See Events page to view the 1st place posters.

UCRC Pilot Funding Opportunity – Due March 15 2019

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 and eventually be a resource for other UCRC faculty and their students
  • Travel support for faculty or students to attend and present at high profile conferences/meetings

This is the second request for proposals this academic year. The deadline is 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 come directly from a faculty affiliate and 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.

2nd Annual UCRC Poster Event — 2019

We are excited to announce the call for abstracts for the 2nd annual UCRC Poster Competition on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 (3pm-5pm MST) 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.

Note: we welcome submissions from collaborators outside of ASU for virtual posters. Specifically, we will host up a small number of virtual posters, where we will print the poster and establish a 2-way video/audio connection to the presenter during the event. We piloted this last year and are making improvements to the presentation process/technology this year.

Abstract requirements:

Maximum 250 words

Important dates:

Abstract submission deadline: February 11, 2019

Notification of acceptance: February 18, 2019

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


We will be able to print your poster if you submit electronically by March 18, 2019.


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

Tony Brazel named Fellow of AAG!

We are happy to share the news that Emeritus Professor Anthony J. Brazel has been elected as a Fellow of the American Association of Geographers (AAG)!

Brazel, a geographer and Urban Climate Research Center (UCRC) faculty affiliate has written more than 180 professional articles and reports on climate, many of which offer fundamental contributions to the field of Urban Climate.

This latest accolade adds to Brazel’s impressive list of accomplishments, including his recognition as a Fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, his receipt of the International Association of Urban Climate’s Luke Howard Award, and the American Meteorological Society’s Helmut E. Landsberg Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Association of American Geographers’ Climate Specialty Group, and the Jeffrey Cook Prize in Desert Architecture from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. See Professor Brazel’s full profile.

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”.