Argonne Puts Climate Impact in Cities Under the Microscope with New Collaborative Study

 Argonne Puts Climate Impact in Cities Under the Microscope with New Collaborative Study

CHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has
awarded DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory and a team of
academic and community leaders, including City Colleges of
Chicago, $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 partners will establish an Urban Integrated
Field Laboratory called Community Research on Climate and
Urban Science (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 weathe,r
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 cl-i
mate 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 citya s a
whole, researchers will be able to predict how climate will evolve
at a much smaller scale--even down to street level.T his will help
communities identify and vet solutions that will make their negihborhoods
resilient against the effects of a changing climate.

“The Chicagoland area provides a rich environment for
study and we are excited to work with such a diverse group o f
community, research and educational partners,” said Cristina
Negri, director of Argonne’s Environmental Sciences Division
and CROCUS lead. “The climate here is noticeably changing.
Through CROCUS, we can all join forces to understand the underlying
processes and provide science-based information. This
will help local planners enact solutions leading to an equitabel
and effective transition to a resilient and carbon-efficient future
for all communities.”

Collaboration is central to CROCUS’s work in Chicago.
Argonne is partnering with local, regional and national colleges
and universities who will recruit and train the next generation of
climate and environmental researchers. To address the underrepresentation of people of color in this field of study, the CROCUS
collaborative includes minority-serving institutions and historically
black colleges and universities. CROCUS academic partners
Chicago State University
City Colleges of Chicago
Discovery Partners Institute
North Carolina A&T State University
Northeastern Illinois University
Northwestern University
University of Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
University of Notre Dame
University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Texas-Austin
Washington University-St. Louis

“Partnering with Argonne National Laboratory and DPI on climate change research and education is critical to the communities we serve, the ones often left out of the conversation,”s aid City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor, Juan Salgado. “What we do today in educating the next generations on how to combat cl-i mate change will advance urban climate science as well as help low-income communities adapt to changes. We are confident that the results of this intentional collaboration will inform our communities and help them remain resilient against climate change.”

This study focuses on climate change at the neighborhood
level, so the research team includes community-based organizations
on Chicago’s South and West Sides. This unique
collaboration will empower community members to share their
needs and concerns, ensuring that researchers deliver information
critical to neighborhoods as they transition to clean energy
and green infrastructure. Community partners include:
Blacks in Green (Woodlawn)
Greater Chatham Initiative (Chatham)
Puerto Rican Agenda (Humboldt Park)
Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (Chicago metropolitan area)

While Chicago is the center of this study, the new insights
and lessons learned will help researchers create a blueprint to
assist other cities across the country and around the world as
they work to become climate change resilient.

“If we understand how climate and urban systems interact
at increasingly detailed scales, we can address the challenge in
a fair, equitable and sustainable way,” Negri said. “By advancing
the science, we can help neighborhoods, governments and
communities envision a climate-ready future. We’re all in this

CROCUS is funded by the Biological and Environmental
Research program in the DOE’s Office of Science. Learn more

Latest Stories

Latest Podcast

Fifth Ward Alderman Desmond Yancy