Climate Change: Practicum for Applied Climate

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Projects

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Internships, Fellowships, Student Employment

Current Projects Below

Winter 2015

Projects with Graham Sustainability Institute and Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA)

What is the Graham Sustainability Institute? Graham

Graham Organizations

Climate Center
GLISA (Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center)
GLAA-C (Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities)
Water Center


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Freezing Rain Analysis for the Great Lakes Region Project Suite View Project Plan
Students: Ben Mallernee (Climate Impacts), Edwin Tang (Climate Impacts)


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GLISA Climatology Updates View Project Plan
Students: TBD


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Local and Regional Climate Summaries for Community Action in Detroit View Project Plan
Students: Barbara Doyle (Climate Impacts)


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Great Lakes Ensemble: Introduction View Project Plan
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Great Lakes Ensemble: Short-Term Goals View Project Plan
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Great Lakes Ensemble: Long-Term Goals View Project Plan
Students: TBD

Projects with Faculty Sponsors

Tides Past and Future: How Tidal Forcing Influences Ocean Circulation and Sea-Level Rise, Student: Houraa Daher, Sponsor: Brian Arbic

Tidal dissipation is one of the primary sources of ocean mixing. Ocean mixing exerts a strong control on oceanic circulation. Oceanic circulation impacts climate because the ocean stores and transports a large amount of heat and carbon. As sea levels rise tidal dissipation will change, so understand the tides of the past will provide information on what happens in the future.

Projects and Sponsors

  • Sustained Assessment of the Physical Science of Fluctuations of Great Lakes' Water Levels, Students: Justin Tsu (Applied Climate), Kim Channell (Climate Impacts), Ben Lowden (Climate Impacts), Sponsors: National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
2013 NPS/NOAA Proposal That Secured Project
2014 NPS/NOAA Revised Work Plan

This will be a continuing project over several terms.


  • Accelerating the Incorporation of Climate Change Knowledge into Adaptation Planning for National Park Service Assets in the Great Lakes Region, Students: TBD, Sponsors: National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
2013 NPS/NOAA Proposal That Secured Project
2014 NPS/NOAA Revised Work Plan

This will be a continuing project over several terms.



Possible Projects

These projects might happen, if there is adequate interest.

  1. Users Guides for IPCC Research Concentration Pathways
  2. Climate Change and Native American Tribal Lands in Great Lakes

Winter 2015: Information Systems

  • Building a Great Lakes Adaptation Data Suite (GLADS) for Informed Decision Making in the Great Lakes Region

Climate change poses significant risks and impacts to communities across the Great Lakes region. Inherent in preparing for existing and anticipated changes in our climate is a need for locally relevant and highly credible data and distilled information. Housed at the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute, the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA) is a trusted source of climate data and recognized as a resource for useful and useable information for decision makers across the eight states and two provinces that comprise our region. This proposal seeks funding to support a GLISA initiative to integrate over-land observational data (Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) -monthly, GHCN-daily, and National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) Climate Division data) with over-lake and coastal observational data from Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS)/Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL)/Great Lakes Evaporation Network (GLEN) gridded and observational data. Standardizing the timestep, period of record, variables, and data structure of these various data sets and creating a single data suite available to climate adaptation practitioners and information providers across the region will increase understanding of lake, nearshore, and coastal interactions for climate adaptation efforts. Additionally, development of a standardized data suite will reduce data acquisition and standardization time for future researchers, creating more opportunities for applying lessons from these data sets to policy decisions across the region.

Proposal that secured funding.

  • Updating the Climate Adaptation Strategies Database

Released in the 2014 the Cities Impacts and Adaptation Tool includes an adaptation strategies database comprised of over 500 climate change adaptation strategies which derive from municipal plans from cities across North America. The current database is a simple Excel spread sheet which is accessible through the CIAT, but it does not interact with other CIAT functions in any meaningful way. Under the instruction of Climate Center staff, students will update the climate adaptation strategies database to improve overall usability including:

  • Creating a more usable interface
  • Updating the search functions to provide results which can be easily reviewed and can easily connect users to the appropriate resources
  • Develop a system method to allow users to add resources to the database through a moderated forum
  • Ensure that the updated database can interact with the existing CIAT structure, but is also portable and transferable to other sites

Intended Outcome: The Climate Adaptation Strategies Database will have a more user-friendly interface, ‘smart’ search functions, and portability.

Tools from Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities (GLAA-C)

Cities Impacts and Adaptation Tool

Socioeconomics and Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region

  • Climate-Change Problem-Solving Environment (GLISAclimate.org): Glossary, Graphical Interface and Web Integration, Content Management, Usability

GLISAclimate.org is built for those actively involved in climate-change problem solving - for example, urban planners, water resource managers, regional policy makers, public health officials, academics, and a variety of scientists. The site is built on the premise that teams of people focused on complex problems are most likely to develop usable solutions paths. Complex problem solving requires a sharing of information and a management of competing factors. Therefore, the site is built to support problem solving - the collection, analysis, evaluation, and use of knowledge. The intent is that if the information used in successful strategies for problem solving is collected and categorized in a shared environment, then the trans-disciplinary expertise will be captured. Then that expert-described information will be available for others. This addresses the following goals:

  • Improving the use of climate information in planning and resource management
  • Exchanging of knowledge across many types of expertise
  • Accelerating our ability to reduce the risks of climate change
  • Establishing the practice of incorporating climate-change knowledge into planning and resource management

The target audience, therefore, are the professionals and practitioners who are willing to invest some time in marking the information they find useful, sharing their analyses of this information, and sharing the results of there projects. By doing this, the next problem should be easier to solve; it is not required that each team starts over from the beginning.

  • Glossary: During the 2014 Interviews, the need for Glossaries was identified as a barrier to usability in all data systems that were evaluated. Developed an approach to Glossaries in GLISAclimate, but how to integrate into the problem-solving environment.
  • Graphical Interface and Web Integration

Cities across the Great Lakes region are seeking information on the impacts from climate change and potential strategies for coping with those impacts. Static and interactive infographics are emerging as simple, but powerful ways to deliver information to decision makers. Building off of work being done by students in the School of Natural Resources, this project will take a static infographic which summarizes key impacts and adaptation strategies for Great Lakes cities and make it into an interactive featuring links to term definitions, strategy case studies, and other external resources. Intended Outcome: This interactive infographic will be fully portable and a resource that Climate Center partners can feature on their websites and will bring users to GLISAClimate via the use of the Glossary and strategies functions.

  • Content Management

How to tag, capture expertise, link to disciplines, sectors. How to integrate this with practitioner or public facing interfaces.

  • Usability

Identification and overcoming barriers of usability.

Fall 2014

Projects with Graham Sustainability Institute and Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA)

What is the Graham Sustainability Institute? Graham

Graham Organizations

Climate Center
GLISA (Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center)
GLAA-C (Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities)
Water Center


  • Investigating Extreme Precipitation Event Changes within the Great Lakes Basin, Student: Samantha Basile, Sponsor: GLISA


  • Sustained Assessment of the Physical Science of Fluctuations of Great Lakes' Water Levels, Students: Rachel McLoughlin and Justin Tsu, Sponsors: [University of Michigan Water Center], National Park Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Fall 2014 Water Center Project Outline

This will be a continuing project over several terms.

Projects with Faculty Sponsors

  • Uncertainty in Estimates of Effective Radiative Forcing by Aerosols, Student: Bofang Zhang, Sponsor: J. Penner

Evaluation of how the aerosol radiative forcing is discussed in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Projects and Sponsors

  • Aspen Futures: Assessing future precipitation projections in Western Colorado to guide stakeholder engagement and resiliency planning for the City of Aspen, Students: James Arnott and Zifan Yang, Sponsor Aspen Global Change Institute

The Aspen Global Change Institute in partnership with the University of Michigan will examine climate model projections of precipitation in the Aspen region and prepare a short white paper intended to clarify and supplement existing subregional, statewide, and regional studies on this topic. The two primary goals of this analysis are to better characterize the confidence (and uncertainty) in recent projections of precipitation for Western Colorado and to provide a more detailed examination of potential future precipitation regimes, such as alterations to timing of precipitation patterns and extremes.