Environmental Protection

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For completed Environmental Protection projects click here.

An Institutional Exploration of Urban Competitiveness and Climate Adaptation Through Two Sectoral Lenses

Meenu Tewari–PI. This project is situated at the intersection of three inter-linked challenges that confront city managers in many rapidly growing developing economies today: the challenge of fostering economic growth; of managing a complex urbanization process that is picking up speed; and of simultaneously coping with the new stressors of climate change—rising temperatures, intensified and uncertain precipitation, droughts that might threaten food and water security, urban flooding, storm surges and seal level rise—that are having an increasing impact on local economies and the wellbeing of citizens as evidenced by the growing number of weather related extreme events that disrupted life in so many cities in the past years—from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy in the US, to Hurricane Haiyan in the Philippines and the devastating Mumbai and Uttarakhand floods in India. How can cities adapt to these new pressures without compromising on their development and economic growth goals?

To answer these questions we will reframe the old “tradeoffs” debate between growth and climate into one that simultaneously explores synergies between the growth and climate security. We focus on cities in a large, rapidly growing emerging economy, India, where both growth and responsible environmentalism are necessary to secure the livelihoods of millions, provide jobs and economic growth while pulling people out of poverty in a climate safe way. However it is in precisely these contexts, where resources are constrained, data are poor and institutional capacity is under stress that policy makers see investments in climate adaption (or resilience) as taking scarce resources away their developmental goals. Even while their high densities and large vulnerable populations puts a great number of people at eventual climate risk. Our goal therefore is to make an economic argument for motivating climate action, particularly adaptive action.

Characterizing the Determinants of Vehicle Traffic Emissions Exposure: Measurement and Modeling of Emissions, Transformation and Transport

Daniel Rodriguez–PI. This project will allow an examination of the built environment and its associations with air quality. The main tasks include: application of built environment metrics or surrogates, ensuring generalizability of the data inputs and processing; quantification of land use metrics in each study site; estimation of linkages between land use, traffic, topography, housing type, building height, and other built environment attributes that might inform estimation of surrogates for emission source strength, dispersion, and exposure; and preparation of built environment inputs to analysis of near road air quality using these metrics.

Detection of Long-Term Variability in Storm Tracks Using Seasonally Resolved Tree-Ring Isotope Records: Implications for Hydroclimatic Change in the U.S. Pacific Northwest

Erika Wise–PI. This project will use the tools of synoptic climatology and seasonally resolved tree-ring data (based on earlywood and latewood widths and stable isotope composition) and weekly precipitation isotope sampling at co-located sites to reconstruct storm-track position and moisture delivery pathways to the Pacific Northwest in order to: (1) develop a long-term record of storm track using stable isotope dendroclimatology; (2) determine the seasonal signal embedded within the tree rings; (3) delineate controls on spatial drought patterns through time in the Pacific Northwest; and (4) evaluate implications for future climate change. This approach will allow us to characterize the range of variability in the precipitation-delivery system, investigate seasonality issues in proxy data, and delineate the possible impacts of future projected atmospheric changes.