Category: Climate Ready Communities

An Integrated Physical-Social-Community (PSC) Approach for Sustainable Shore Protection, Beach Integrity, and Bluff/Dune Stabilization Along Lake Michigan

The overall goals of this project are to:

  • Better understand coastal processes in terms of nearshore hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and coastal morphology under changing climate forcing in Lake Michigan
  • Help effectively communicate to stakeholders, with the purpose of promoting sustainable shore protection, increasing the integrity of beaches; and stabilizing bluffs/dunes in Lake Michigan


Measuring Local Government Response to Great Lakes Climate Risks

While there is an emerging consensus on the climate risks faced by different areas of the country, there is a profound lack of information on how local governments are responding to these risks. This proposal begins to fill the information gap by funding a faculty-student team to assist local officials in Indiana counties bordering Lake Michigan to complete the Hoosier Resilience Index Readiness Assessment (HRA). This instrument, developed by research staff at Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI), offers unique insight into the local response to climate risks, facilitating analysis of the political, social, and economic factors that shape policy decisions. 

Pilot field observations of Lake Michigan atmospheric boundary layers

  • Test the ability of a mobile atmospheric sounding system, and best deployment methods, to observe marine boundary layer (MBL) structure and evolution across Lake Michigan
  • Compare observations from this sounding system to nearby standard NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) sounding data in the Great Lakes region
  • Conduct initial tests of theories by Workoff (2010) on cross-lake changes in marine boundary layer vertical stability and wind structure
  • Use pilot data gathered during these field tests to develop a more complete observational field study of interactions between Lake Michigan marine boundary layers and deep convective storm systems

Quantifying the impact of land cover change and of climate change on floods in Northeastern Illinois

  • Identify the contributions of land cover change and climate change on increasing flood discharges
  • Provide tools to assist in projections of future flood magnitudes that can be used with existing management practices to reduce flooding impacts
  • Provide input for flood study prioritization through a comparison of published regulatory discharges with flood discharges computed for current conditions
  • Investigate possible future impacts of changes in land cover and precipitation on flood peaks

Using Habitat Suitability Modeling to Determine the Vulnerability of Rare Illinois Plant Species to Climate Change

Through this graduate student scholars project, I will expand the impact of my research using habitat suitability modeling (HSM) to map the distribution of Illinois wetland rare plant species and assess their vulnerability to climate change. Using HSM, I will determine the required niche conditions for two species, Epilobium strictum and Rhynchospora alba and identify locations of suitable habitat in Illinois. To evaluate the accuracy of my models, I will conduct field monitoring of all known populations, as well as sites designated as suitable by the models to potentially discover new populations. The monitoring data collected will be added to the HSM, which I will use to test the possible response of these species to predicted climate scenarios. Rare plant conservation efforts require informed climate strategies to implement urgently-needed species protections and prevent unnecessary climate extinctions.