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A brand new study is looking to get a closer look at the impact of climate change on neighborhoods in Chicago. Plenty of research groups and organizations are partnering up to make up the Urban Integrated Field Laboratories. The study will last for 5 years long.
Officials say that over $20 million in funding will go to the virtual lab. The lab will look very much into the impact of climate change, even going so far as to look at individual blocks and streets.
Like a few other U.S. cities, Chicago has already experienced climate change in the form of very extreme weather, drought, heat waves, and flooding. These researchers will be conducting research on how open spaces, trees, Lake Michigan, and buildings form Chicago’s climate. Due to the fact that no two neighbors are alike, the research will make comprehensive climate models to forecast climate impacts, even in areas that are as small as 1 square mile, which authorizes communities to find results at the neighborhood level.
“This work will assist us in providing new solutions for reducing urban flooding, which largely affects plenty of neighborhoods across Chicago,” said Northwestern’s Aaron Packman, urban water lead for CROCUS. “We will find out how nature-based solutions such as green spaces and green infrastructure can improve resilience to climate change and lessen vulnerability to such extreme weather.”
A famous water expert, Packman is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northwestern McCormick School of Engineering, and he is the founding director of the Center for Water Research. William Miller, a professor of biological and chemical engineering at McCormick as well as the director of the Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience, is Northwestern’s co-lead with Packman.
The Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience expands on three recent National Science Foundation-funded projects at Northwestern that aim to increase resilience to climate change: Sustainable Urban Systems: Predictive, Interconnected, Resilient and Evolving (SUSP), which aims to reduce the effects of extreme weather in cities; Systems Approaches for Vulnerability Evaluation and Urban Resilience (SAVEUR), a national initiative to develop and implement smart sensors for monitoring climate, traffic, and ecosystems; and great lake cities.
CROCUS is collaborating with local and regional colleges and institutions to recruit and train the next generation of climate scientists, under the direction of Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Students from a variety of schools, including historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions, will have access to educational and professional development opportunities through CROCUS.
The colleges and universities taking part are the State University of Chicago, Chicago City Colleges, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Northeastern University of Illinois, Northwestern College, College of Notre Dame, College of Chicago, Illinois Urbana-Champaign University, Madison’s University of Wisconsin, Austin’s University of Texas, Saint Louis University Louis
On the South and West sides of Chicago, community-based organizations will interact with CROCUS researchers. As they collaborate with researchers to transition neighborhoods to renewable energy and nature-based climate solutions, community people will be able to communicate their wants and concerns.
Partners in the community include Blue and Black (Woodlawn), Project Greater Chatham (Chatham), Caribbean Agenda (Humboldt Park), and Mayors of Metropolitan Areas. Even though Chicago is the focus of the study, the new knowledge and lessons will aid academics in developing a model to help other cities around the nation and the world as they strive to become climate resilient.
The summer of 2020 had a derecho event, and the summer of 2021 was severely affected by severe droughts. The serve droughts in 2021 were the most severe drought in decades. The warmest temperature in Chicago during the summer of 2022 was 99 degrees
Written By Lance Santoyo
Edited by Sheena Robertson
ABC 7 Chicago: A new study plans to look at the impact of climate change on Chicago
Fox 32 Chicago: research groups, organizations form virtual lab to understand impact of climate change citywide
Northwestern: Northwestern joins collaboration to study climate and urban science in Chicago
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Inset Image Courtesy of andrew_mc_d Flickr Page – Creative Commons License