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Projects. A complete list of everything we're up to.


Tree Hardiness Zones

Hardiness zones, defined as the average annual minimum temperature in which a plant can grow, are the current standard for arborists and gardeners to guide tree selection. Urban trees provide a myriad of services, including the ability to effectively mitigate the urban heat island effect through shading and evapotranspiration. With anthropogenic warming, hardiness zones are shifting northward over time, causing tree species to lose adaptation to parts of their historical range. As temperatures rise, some species of tree will no longer remain adapted to their urban settings. For the 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), we are determining decadal hardiness zone shifts and how the associated changes in tree species distribution influence urban tree selection. Our ultimate goal is to assist cities in selecting suitable trees for changing climatic conditions.

People
Dr. Brian Stone, Kevin Lanza


CULE

CULE (Climate, Urban, Land use, and E xcess mortality) is a project assessing the potential for climate-responsive design strategies to mitigate the heat-related health impacts of climate change in large US cities over a multi-decadal planning horizon. Specifically, this project will model the influence of alternative land development scenarios on temperature change in three major metropolitan areas of the United States between 2010 and 2050 and quantify the effects of each scenario on public health outcomes related to two classes of heat-related exposure: high levels of ambient heat and intensified concentrations of air pollution.

People
Dr. Brian Stone, Dr. Ted Russell, Dr. Anthony DeLucia, Dr. Jason Vargo, Dana Habeeb

Publications and Media:
Differences Between Downscaling with Spectral and Grid Nudging Using WRF.
Peng, Liu, Tsimpidi, Alexandra, Hu, Youngtao, Stone, Brian, Russell, Armistead & Nenes, Athanasios. 2012. Differences Between Downscaling with Spectral and Grid Nudging Using WRF. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 12: 3601–3610.

The Importance of Land Cover Change Across Urban Rural Typologies for Climate Modeling.
Vargo, Jason, Habeeb, Dana & Stone, Brian Jr. 2013. The Importance of Land Cover Change Across Urban Rural Typologies for Climate Modeling. Journal of Environmental Management, 114: 243–252.

Avoided Heat-Related Mortality through Climate Adaptation Strategies in Three US Cities.
Stone, Brian Jr., Vargo, Jason, Liu, Peng, Habeeb, Dana, DeLucia, Anthony, Trail, Marcus, Hu, Yongtao, & Russell, Armistead. 2014. Avoided Heat-Related Mortality through Climate Adaptation Strategies in Three US Cities. PLOS ONE, 9(6): 1–8.

UCL study finds suburbs to be heating up Atlanta. Click here to read the article.


CULE-R

CULE-R (Climate, Urban, Land use, and Excess mortality - Retrospective) seeks to build upon findings of the association between urban form and enhanced exposure to extreme heat and air pollution through an assessment of excess mortality in sprawling and compact cities. Specifically, we seek to test the following three study hypotheses:

  1. Sprawling cities have experienced a higher rate of excess mortality associated with extreme heat events over the last 25 years than compact cities;
  2. Sprawling cities have experienced a higher rate of excess mortality associated with exceedances of national health-based standards for O3 and PM2.5 over the last 25 years than compact cities;
  3. Sprawling cities have experienced a higher rate of excess mortality associated with climate-enhanced air pollution episodes over the last 25 years than compact cities.

People
Dr. Brian Stone, Dr. Tegan Boehmer, Dr. Fuyuen Yip, Dr. Jason Vargo, Dana Habeeb


Urban Climate Change

Urban Climate Change

How rapidly are large cities in the United States warming? This question is important for two reasons. First, extreme temperatures are responsible for more annual fatalities than all other forms of extreme weather combined, including earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes. In a warming world, the public health threats of extreme heat are expected to intensify. Second, annual analyses of mean global temperature change omit urban weather station data, as urban temperature trends are known to reflect both background warming rates and localized warming anomalies, such as the urban heat island effect. As a result, global estimates of climate change are likely to underestimate rates of warming in the very places where most of the global population now resides: cities.

Through this study, we analyzed more than five decades of meteorological observations recorded by weather stations located within and in proximity to 50 of the most populous U.S. cities to measure the rate of change in "urban heat island" intensity - localized hotspots created by urban infrastructure and waste heat emissions - in each decade between 1951 and 2006.

The results of this analysis suggest that the actual magnitude of warming in urban areas is likely to be much greater than that forecast by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), greatly elevating the need for climate-responsive design strategies to counteract the enhanced impacts of warming in large cities.

People
Dr. Brian Stone

Publications:
Urban and Rural Temperature Trends in Proximity to Large U.S. Cities. ”
Stone, Brian Jr. 2007. Urban and Rural Temperature Trends in Proximity to Large U.S. Cities: 1951–2000. International Journal of Climatology, 27: 1801–1807.

Land Use as Climate Change Mitigation. ”
Stone, Brian Jr. 2009. Land Use as Climate Change Mitigation. Environmental Science & Technology, 43(24): 9052–9056.

Managing Climate Change in Cities: Will Climate Action Plans Work?
Stone, Brian Jr., Vargo, Jason, & Habeeb, Dana. 2012. Managing Climate Change in Cities: Will Climate Action Plans Work? Landscape and Urban Planning, 107(3): 263–271.


PLUTO

PLUTO

Project PLUTO (Projecting the Effect of Land Use and Transportation on Future Air Quality) is an EPA funded study designed to investigate the impact of regional land use patterns on air quality throughout the upper Midwestern United States. The principal goal of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of "smart growth" land use policies in combating ozone formation and fine particulate air pollution between today and 2050. Through the integration of travel survey data with a set of mobile source emissions and air chemistry models, we will assess the influence of regional land use and technology change scenarios, coupled with ongoing changes in climate, on air quality throughout the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Project PLUTO is the first study to evaluate the potential for smart growth land use strategies to improve regional air quality over time and in comparison with conventional technological strategies, such as power plant scrubbers and hybrid vehicles.

People
Dr. Brian Stone, Dr. Tracey Holloway, Adam Mednick, Scot Spak

Publications:
Is Compact Growth Good for Air Quality?. ”
Stone, Brian Jr., Mednick, Adam, Holloway, Tracey, and Spak, Scott. 2007. Is Compact Growth Good for Air Quality?, in Journal of the American Planning Association, 73, 404–418.

Mobile Source CO2 Mitigation through Smart Growth Development and Vehicle Fleet Hybridization. ”
Stone, Brian Jr., Mednick, Adam, Holloway, Tracey, and Spak, Scott. 2009. Mobile Source CO2 Mitigation through Smart Growth Development and Vehicle Fleet Hybridization, Environmental Science and Technology, 43: 1704–1710.