CROCUS Academic Partners and Chicago Field Campaigns

The Community Research on Climate and Urban Science (CROCUS) project has twelve (!) academic partners: Chicago State University, City Colleges of Chicago, North Carolina A&T State University, Northeastern Illinois University, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, University of Notre Dame, University of Texas – Austin, University of Wisconsin – Madison and Washington University in St. Louis.

These partners play a wide range of roles from education and outreach to modeling and, what I will discuss here, bringing state of the art atmospheric observatories to Chicago. I will go into more depth on the CROCUS Measurement Strategy (CMS) later (yes I am kind of doing this backwards). There are two key components: the Chicago Micronet and the CROCUS Comprehensive Field Campaign Strategy (CFCS).

The C-Band On Wheels (COW) radar is part of the UIUC FARM. And it is coming to Chicago!!! Courtesy Stephen Nesbitt.

All partners will play a role in the CFCS. As said in the previous post, CROCUS is inclusive and open. But three partners play an outsized role. Over the course of the five years of the project the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the University of Wisconsin – Madison and Washington University in St. Louis will be deploying unique atmospheric observational tools in and around Chicago.

Washington University in St. Louis will be deploying state of the art instruments that can detect and analyze the chemistry of tiny particles called aerosols. They will be able to see how these aerosols grow and interact with the urban environment.

The University of Wisconsin – Madison will be brining a systems taylor made to measure how the city interacts with the larger atmosphere. The University of Wisconsin–Madison Space Science and Engineering Center Portable Atmospheric Research Center (SPARC) has some of the best instruments available for measuring how temperature, moisture and winds change with height. This gives our modeling teams what we call “The column”. That is the layer cake of air above the city. This will help us understand how the regional climate influences Chicago and how Chicago influences the climate.

The SPARC trailer. This facility will tell us what is happening in the skies above Chicago. Courtesy Tim Wagner

Finally, The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign is bringing the Flexible Array of Radars and Mesonets (FARM). This includes the world famous Doppler On Wheels radars which CROCUS will use to get a neighbourhood scale picture of storms that lead to the worst flooding. The current radar networks around Chicago do not adequately capture the spatial resolution of rainfall important to urban flooding the FARM will allow us to zoom in like a microscope to the street level.

All three facilities will address science as identified by our community partners, Blacks in Green, The Puerto Rican Agenda, The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and the Greater Chatham Initiative. And they will provide unprecedented opportunities for students. Stay tuned! We are a big tent and this is just the start. We also plan to submit a proposal for the ARM Mobile Facility as another building block to create the largest study of the urban environment, ever.

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