As part of our Climate Resiliency Community Challenge, five universities have been selected to conduct research that will help communities in the southeastern United States build resilience to climate change.
Each academic institution will receive $50,000 from AT&T for projects that assess local climate risks and help local governments with climate adaptation and resilience planning. The teams will use data commissioned by AT&T from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and funding from AT&T to conduct innovative research on climate impacts and community responses in the southeastern United States.
The Climate Resiliency Community Challenge is part of AT&T’s Climate Resiliency Project, an industry-leading effort to evaluate and address the risks of climate change.
The five universities and their projects are:
Appalachian State University (Boone, NC): This project will assess how socioeconomic disparities that affect rural communities contribute to climate vulnerability. The climate risk estimates produced by the team will better inform adaptation strategies, identify specific regional data needs and guide decision-making on disparities between risks in inland rural areas versus urban or coastal areas.
Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA): This project will leverage data provided by AT&T and other sources to assess Georgia’s in‐land flooding vulnerability under different climate projection scenarios. Using the results of the assessment, the team will explore how eco-roofs, which can reduce stormwater runoff by up to 60%, can be used to manage flood risks and safeguard vulnerable populations.
University of Georgia (Athens, GA): This project will assess the long-term flood frequency and severity for Athens-Clarke County, GA. The county and the University of Georgia’s Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems will work together to develop flood inundation maps, visualizations and a modeling framework for rapidly assessing flooding pressure points at the municipal scale. These products will create an improved understanding of future flood hazards and inform long-term planning and infrastructure investment priorities.
University of Miami (Miami, FL): This project will develop an Integrated Climate Risk Assessment (ICRA) for the city of Miami on the scale of individual lots, blocks and neighborhoods. The ICRA will enable distinctions among different vectors of vulnerability and risk, including economic, health, food, water, housing, transportation, greenness, and social and cultural dimensions. This will help decision-makers explore different options for climate adaptation and inform resource allocation and policy in a more responsive manner.
University of South Florida (St. Petersburg, FL): This project will develop and implement a multi-modular crowdsourced Community Resiliency Information System (CRIS) in the city of St. Petersburg. CRIS will identify neighborhood-level socioeconomic and biophysical vulnerabilities, which will be combined with crowdsourced data from survey tools embedded in local populations. The system will ensure the participation of diverse communities in decision-making around preparedness, resilience and adaptation.
The universities were selected through an application process that included a review by a panel of non-profit climate and resiliency experts including Kristiane Huber, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES; David Kuhn, World Wildlife Fund (WWF and Zack Rosenburg, SBP.
“Climate resiliency is becoming increasingly important for all types of communities—from major coastal cities to small rural towns,” said David Kuhn, World Wildlife Fund Relationship Manager. “Data and financial support, like that provided by AT&T and Argonne National Laboratory for this competition, are essential to allowing researchers and decision-makers to better assess the risks from climate change across the Southeast and take steps to keep communities safe.”