The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Argonne National Laboratory and a team of academic and community leaders $25 million over five years to advance urban climate science by studying climate change effects at local and regional scales. The results of this new research will inform communities to build resilience to future effects of climate change.
Argonne and 16 partners, including the University of Chicago, will establish a center called the Community Research on Climate and Urban Science or CROCUS, focusing on the Chicago region.
CROCUS will use community input to identify questions and specific areas of urban climate change to study, ensuring that research results directly benefit local residents. CROCUS researchers will also work with organizations and students to collect on-the-ground data and develop climate models.
Like other U.S. cities, Chicago is already experiencing disruption from climate change in the form of extreme weather, flooding, drought and heat waves. Unfortunately, the neighborhoods that are most at risk for climate-related disasters have historically been understudied and unable to access the resources or services they need. That's why CROCUS has strong representation from local organizations to develop its research goals.
Researchers will measure Chicago’s temperature, precipitation, and soil conditions. They will explore how trees, open spaces, buildings, expressways and Lake Michigan are shaping the city’s climate, as well as how the Chicago area influences climate regionally. And because no two communities are alike, the study will create more detailed climate models than ever before to reveal the effects of climate change on individual neighborhoods. Instead of looking at the climate of the entire region or city as a whole, researchers will be able to predict how climate will evolve at a much smaller scale--even down to street level. This will help communities identify and vet solutions that will make their neighborhoods resilient against the effects of a changing climate.