Urban Climate News

Call for abstracts for UCRC Poster Event now open

The Urban Climate Research Center is delighted to announce the Call for ABSTRACTS for the 2024 UCRC Annual Poster Event. Learners and researchers from high school to higher education faculty are invited to submit their abstract that addresses urban environments and the interaction with society and infrastructure. This poster event will showcase the breadth of work centered on issues of urban environmental research being conducted at ASU and across our community. Prizes will be awarded in multiple categories.

The 2024 event will be held outside, on the east side of the COOR Hall Courtyard, on March 21st, 2024 from 2:00pm-4:00pm. Further details will be provided as we draw closer to the event date.

Eligible participants: The poster session is intended to highlight urban environmental research from high school to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral researchers and faculty. We welcome participants from ASU as well as from other institutions partnering with ASU researchers on collaborative projects.

Submit your abstract now at https://links.asu.edu/ucrc-poster-abstract.

Abstract requirements: Maximum 250 words

Important dates:
– Abstract submission deadline: Friday, February 23, 2024.
– Notification of acceptance: Friday, March 1, 2024.

Final Poster may be printed at SGSUP no later than Friday, March 15, 2024 by 4PM.

Electronic poster submission file deadline: Monday, March 18, 2024 by 12PM (detailed instructions and a ppt template to follow)

Note that Faculty are not eligible for award competition … details to follow). Click here to see examples of winning posters from past years.

Please let us know if you have questions and Please share widely with your interested students and postdocs!

2022 Brazel Lecture – Cities and Climate Change

Our 2022 Anthony J. Brazel Urban Climate Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Karen Seto of Yale University. The event will begin with light snacks at 4:30pm in the Alumni Room of the Municipal Union on ASU’s Tempe campus. The lecture itself will begin at 5pm. An RSVP will be sent out to the campus community and our local partners and friends. The event will also be live-streamed at: http://live.asu.edu/

About the talk: The urban share of global GHG emissions is substantive and continues to increase. At the same time, cities are disproportionately affected by climate change due to their concentration of people, economic activities and assets.  This talk will discuss key findings from the recently approved 6th Assessment Report of the IPCC on how future climate change is likely to affect cities and how urban areas can contribute to solving the climate crisis.

About the speaker: Dr. Karen Seto is the Frederick C. Hixon Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science at the Yale School of the Environment. She is an urban and land change scientist whose central research focus is how urbanization will affect the planet. A geographer by training, she integrates remote sensing, field interviews, and modeling methods to study urbanization and land change, forecast urban growth, and examine the environmental consequences of urban expansion.

Professor Seto is co-leading the urban mitigation chapter for the IPCC 6th Assessment Report and co-lead the same chapter for the IPCC 5th Assessment Report. She has received numerous awards for her scientific contributions. She is the recipient of a NASA New Investigator Program Award, an NSF Career Award, and the Outstanding Contributions to Remote Sensing Research Award from the American Association of Geographers. She was named an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow in 2009. She is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Ariane Middel elected President of IAUC!

The UCRC’s own Ariane Middel was recently elected to serve the International Association for Urban Climate (IAUC) as its new President for the period 2022-2026. Joining Middel on the IAUC executive team are Benjamin Bechtel (Secretary) and Dev Niyogi (Treasurer). Middel’s selection to lead the premier international association for urban climate researchers is a testament to her reputation in the field and further amplifies the influence of Arizona State University in the field of urban climate science.
For more information, see IAUC Website.

Cool Pavement Pilot Project – Year 2!

In 2020 the City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department partnered with researchers at ASU to explore the performance of cool paving (lighter colored seal coats applied to existing residential streets). The ASU team conducted extensive measurments and analysis of the pavement performance from multiple perspectives. The final report can be found at: View the report

The City has recently authorized a 2nd year of funding for this project in which we will continue longitudinal measurements, explore new types of cool paving, and conduct new/expanded analyses of pavement performance. Stay tuned for results!

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!