Submit an abstract to session at AMS on value of cooling our cities

This year’s annual American Meteorological Society (AMS) meeting will be held in Houston TX on 23-27 January 2022. As part of this conference, the 17th Symposium on Societal Applications: Policy, Research and Practice is inviting abstracts for a session:

Session Topic ID: 59201
Session Topic Title: The Value of Cooling our Urban Environments

Abstracts DUE: SEPT 1 2021

Session Description:

Cities are warming rapidly due to local and global drivers. This trend is particularly alarming because of the strong positive relationship between ambient air temperature and many adverse outcomes for society, including air conditioning energy use, water consumption, air pollution, and adverse health outcomes. While local and regional governments are increasingly interested in cooling their urban environments, as stewards of public resources, decision-makers must assess the costs and benefits of their actions.

This session explores the societal value of cooling our cities, with an emphasis on quantifying and monetizing the value of cooling. While an obvious simplification, development of such assessments on a per degree C basis, enables the research community to communicate a specific value proposition to regional and local governments so they can weigh the costs and benefits of implementing cooling strategies at scale.

In this session, we are interested in taking a broad look at how urban temperature reductions benefit all aspects of our economy. We therefore invite papers that investigate air temperature impacts on energy and water use and cost, as well as on costs associated with health outcomes associated with extreme heat and air pollution. We also welcome papers that explore other societal impacts such as workforce productivity, real estate values, impacts on tourism, business expansion/relocation decisions, and the associated impacts on tax revenue for cities and regions.


Please submit abstracts HERE. (click on “17th Symposium on Societal Applications…” and search on “value of cooling”).

NOTE: Abstracts are due September 01, 2021

Brazel Lecture with Marshall Shepherd – March 24!

The Urban Climate Research Center at ASU is thrilled to announce our 3rd annual Anthony J. Brazel Urban Climate Lecture featuring J. Marshall Shepherd. The virtual lecture will take place on Wednesday March 24 2021 at 4pm (Phoenix) — 7pm Eastern.

Dr. Shepherd is Director of the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Atmospheric Sciences Program. He is a leading international expert in weather and climate, and a past President of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Dr. Shepherd is also the host of The Weather Channel’s Award-Winning show: Weather Geeks, a pioneering Sunday talk
podcast/show and a contributor to Forbes Magazine. He has won many prestigious awards for his research and public engagement, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the AGU
Climate Communication Prize, the American Meteorological Society’s Brooks and Helmut Landsberg awards, and the Association of American Geographers Media Achievement Award.

His presentation is titled “Can Cities Make it Rain”.

Many people are familiar with something called the Urban Heat Island, which describes how and why cities are often warmer than surrounding areas. It is one of the most profound examples of human activity altering the weather and climate. Heat islands have been aggressively studied and publicized in recent decades but the public, decision-makers, and stakeholders may be less familiar with the impact cities have on precipitation and flooding. Dr. Shepherd, who has been honored at the White House and by the American Meteorological Society for his pioneering work on the “Urban Rainfall Effect,” will offer a fascinating discussion on the topic with perspectives
on science and decision-making. Some of Dr. Shepherd’s early work on the topic was even inspired by Dr. Tony Brazel.



Krayenhoff and colleagues publish review paper on modelling of urban heat mitigation

Scott Krayenhoff has led an effort to conduct a systematic review of the numerical modeling literature to understand the potential of mitigation strategies to cool cities. This study, co-authored by Broadbent, Zhao, Georgescu, Middel, Voogt, Martilli, Sailor, and Erell seeks to contextualize and assess reliability of published studies. Using 25 criteria, this study assesses methods and results from 146 studies published from 1987 to 2017. As noted by Krayenhoff, the study’s two key findings are:

1) The ability of numerical models to quantify the amount of cooling provided by urban heat reduction strategies like green roofs or street trees needs to be tested. Currently, such models are often evaluated based on their ability to represent meteorological conditions prior to implementation of the cooling strategy (e.g., tree planting, green roofs, or cool pavements or roofs).

2) The numerical modeling field is getting closer to consensus cooling effectivenesses of these strategies for clear sky summer or heat wave conditions, when the cooling is needed most. Green infrastructure and reflective materials demonstrated broadly similar ability to cool urban air temperatures per area application: approximately 0.3 degrees per 10% land area for strategies such as street trees and reflective materials. Of course there is a lot of variability around that number depending on location, weather, details of the cooling strategy, etc.


See the full paper here.

New Report on Pavement and Urban Heat Islands

Researchers from ASU’s National Center of Excellence on Smart Innovations who are also affiliated with ASU’s Urban Climate Research Center have recently completed a study: Critical Review and Gap Analysis of Impacts from Pavements on Urban Heat Island for the National Asphalt Pavement Association.

The objective of the study was to identify knowledge gaps regarding the scientific understanding of UHI and effective mitigation measures, with a focus on the use of cool pavements. The author team, comprisinng Graduate Research Associate Chenghao Wang, Associate Professor Zhihua Wang, and Professor Kamil Kaloush reviewed the scientific literature from the past decade to summarize recent scientific advances in cool pavements. They reviewed existing efforts on reflective pavements, permeable pavements, and other innovative pavement designs used in UHI mitigation. Reflective pavements cool surface temperature by absorbing less solar radiation and therefore reduce summer energy consumption and carbon emissions, but they may lead to unintended consequences such as increased energy and cost for heating during winters and increased human thermal exposure.

An online survey was conducted to better understand perceptions of UHI mitigation strategies and their implementation from personnel in the industry, academia, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and interested professionals. The researchers identified 12 knowledge gaps based on the current state of research and implementation as well as the general perceptions learned from the survey results.

Read the report:


UCRC 2020 Poster Event Winners!

The Urban Climate Research Center congratulates all of the participants in this year’s virtual poster event. The format worked out quite well, resulting in very engaging discussions of all posters presented.

We are also very happy to announce the winners of this year’s event.


1st Place Graduate Student category: Alyssa Henning, “Estimating Personal Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure During Outdoor Activities with Wearable Sensors”


2nd Place Graduate Student catetory: Aldo Brandi, “Influence of Projected Climate Change, Urban Development, and Heat Adaptation Strategies on End of 21st Century Urban Boundary Layers in the Conterminous US”


1st Place Undergraduate Student category: Ananth Udupa, “Thermal Panoramas for Urban Climate Applications”


Honorable mentions: Mary Wright, Omar Galal









Please visit the poster site to view presentations from all participants!


ASU Carbon Sink & Learning Forest is coming soon!

The ASU Carbon Sink & Learning Forest will be a 1,000-tree forest  of Honey Mesquite, Screwbean Mesquite, and Foothills Palo Verde trees on 10.8 acres at the ASU West campus. The trees have been grown by our partners at Northern Arizona University in a special deep-pot method to facilitate drought-tolerance and survival. The trees are to be planted in mid November 2020 by a crew from the non-profit Ancestral Lands.

The project is a result of the ASU Carbon Project–a project created to offset ASU’s difficult to mitigate carbon emissions. It is estimated that the Carbon Sink will store about 3,400 metric tons of CO2 over the next 30 years as well as providing benefits such as shade, stormwater management, and wildlife habitat.

The Carbon Sink & Learning Forest will also serve as a living laboratory for hands-on learning through classes, labs, and student projects. Ongoing measurements at the site will include studies of above- and below-ground carbon sequestration (led by Dr. Becky Ball), and local microclimate monitoring (led by Dr. David Sailor). Local  condtions from the site are available online here.

Stay-tuned as the project evolves!


UCRC Poster Event 2020–RSVP required!

We are excited to announce the 3rd annual Urban Climate Research Center Poster Event. This year’s event includes posters from 8 ASU schools and collaborators at 4 other universities. As it will be online, we REQUIRE participants to RSVP in advance so that we can send you the zoom links and password to attend this unique event, which will include parallel poster room sessions so that each individual poster presenter will be able to directly interact with interested event participants.

The event will be held on October 15, 2020 from 3pm-5:30pm MST (Arizona is on MST year-round).
Please RSVP here!
Looking forward to your participation.
Dave Sailor
Director, Urban Climate Research Center

UCRC Exploring Cool Pavements in Phoenix

This summer the City of Phoenix has been experimenting with a cool-seal product that replaces the traditional very dark seal coat that is applied to streets every 3-5 years with a more solar-reflective coating that holds promise for cooling the city. ASU’s Urban Climate Research Center has been partnering with the city to evaluate the thermal effects in neighborhoods where the technology has been deployed. We have conducted 3 intensive monitoring campaigns this summer using cart-based (MaRTy Cart) mean radiant temperature measurements, car-based air and surface temperature traverse measurements, and helicopter-based thermography. We are also tracking subsurface temperature and pavement thermal storage as well as the evolution of the seal-coat radiative properties. With much of the data now in hand, we turn to the task of analyzing the results. Thanks to the many students and faculty who gave up sleep (measurements starting at 4am) and sweat (peak temps > 110F) to make this happen!

The motley drivers of heat and cold exposure in 21st century US cities

Ashley Broadbent, an Assistant Research Professor in Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, and faculty affiliate of the Urban Climate Research Center, together with colleagues Scott Krayenhoff and Matei Georgescu, has recently published “The motley drivers of heat and cold exposure in 21st century US cities” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The paper presents population-weighted estimates of outdoor heat and cold exposure, considering both global climate change and urban expansion during the 21st century. The results are particularly significant for cities in the US sunbelt, which are projected to see the greatest increase in population over the next several decades. This work represents an important contribution to understanding future heat/cold exposure, particularly when linked with other recent studies exploring indoor vs. outdoor exposure and relative access to shaded outdoor or air-conditioned indoor environments.

The full paper can be found here.

New opportunities for graduate students in the UCRC!

It is not uncommon for projects to be funded out of sync with the normal graduate student recruitment and application processes. In fact, we have several projects that have recently been funded, and several that may be funded in the next several months. We anticipate being able to bring students in for new projects on a fast-track process for Fall 2020 or for Spring 2021.

One such opportunity follows:

Graduate Student Research Assistant in the Urban Climate Research Center at Arizona State University. Our team is looking for a highly-qualified (MS or PhD level) graduate student to assist in a new research initiative to investigate innovations in urban cooling. The student will join a highly interdisciplinary team, and can enter the university through one of several departments: (Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning; Sustainable Engineering; or Mechanical Engineering). The student will initially be responsible for developing measurement protocols for monitoring thermal environments (surface temperatures, air temperatures, mean radiant temperatures) at and around bus shelters. The project involves an experiment in which some bus shelters will be used as controls and others will receive roof surface treatments involving passive radiative cooling films. Measurement technologies will include a mobile mean radiant temperature instrument, data logging temperature sensors, and an innovative network of RFID-based sensors. The ideal candidate will have experience in instrumentation, experimental design, and data analysis. The position requires field work in the Phoenix metropolitan region starting August 2020. Given the short timeframe, we will work directly with the selected student to facilitate fast-tracking of their off-cycle graduate application.
For more information contact:
  David Sailor —
  Ariane Middel —