Inquiries into the dynamics of urban systems have improved our understanding of urban metabolism over the last century. However, cities continue to struggle to achieve sustainability goals. Most decisions made on urban management are based on the system scale. However high gradients in urban areas suggest that sustainability decisions should be made at a microcosmic or local scale. Several questions arise regarding how such scales should be selected, their dimensions, and modeling. In this presentation, I will describe the research conducted at appropriate scales for city climates and system-level modeling for urban woes related to heat, pollution, energy, and environmental justice. Moreover, I will provide an overview of how we can use advancements in interdisciplinary urban science to assess solutions that can empower people and ecosystems to thrive in urban environments.
Ashish Sharma is the Illinois Research Climatologist at the Illinois State Water Survey. He has a graduate faculty appointment in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and as an NCSA affiliate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition, he holds a joint appointment with the Environmental Science Division of the Argonne National Laboratory. The focus of his research is on atmospheric sciences and land-atmosphere interactions at a variety of spatial scales (regional through local). He performs targeted climate dynamical downscaling experiments with the overall goal of creating “bridges” between spatial scales. Another aspect of his research involves collaborating across science, engineering, social sciences, and policy to perform collaborative, applied, and translational research focused on reducing vulnerabilities and increasing preparedness in urban environments. He collaborates with cities and institutions to conduct research on environmental issues related to heat, fog, air quality, high-impact weather, and environmental justice topics.
Dr. Sharma holds a Ph.D. degree in Aerospace Engineering from Arizona State University (2012). He is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and has published more than 30 articles. He has co-authored an assessment on the impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes region (2019) and a special assessment of the impacts of climate change on the State of Illinois (2021). He also co-authored the 2019 NOAA report on Climate Research to Enhance Resilience to Extreme Heat — Aligning research priorities with stakeholder needs. He is one of the authors of the first climate action plan for the Chicago metro region (2021), which has been recognized nationally.