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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Special PEER-PIRE Cycle (June 2012 Deadline)

NSF-PIRE collaboration: developing low-carbon cities in India: focus on urban infrastructures, climate risks, and vulnerability

PI:  Sachchida Nand Tripathi, Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K)
U.S. Partner: Anu Ramaswami, University of Minnesota
Project Dates: January 2013 - December 2015

Project Overview 

This project addresses climate change, renewable and sustainable energy interventions, water sustainability, human development co-benefits and climate risks, and environmental engineering solutions in cities in India, covering several key USAID priorities. The PI and his team will conduct field research on human development risks and climate risks associated with current and future infrastructure trajectories in Indian cities. The proposal explores the extent to which low carbon infrastructures in India can improve human well-being in cities, thereby motivating low-carbon development trajectories. To address this issue, the research will develop analytic tools to help quantify human co-benefits of low-carbon interventions in Indian cities. The tools include: (1) using satellite data to estimate airborne Particulate Matter (PM) concentrations in Indian cities and relating these to fossil energy use and human development impacts; (2) quantifying the Wastewater-Energy-Greenhouse Gas (GHG) nexus to assess GHG and human well-being co-benefits of improved sanitation and wastewater treatment in Indian cities; and (3) downscaling climate models to incorporate human development impacts from extreme climate events in cities related to flooding, extreme heat, or cold. The research team will also help the U.S. and Indian student cohorts involved to conduct the above field research in Indian cities. IIT-K will further host the International Summer School on Sustainable Cities in 2013 and will send a team of three faculty and students for training and reciprocal experiences in the United States. Finally, IIT-K will  host a professional workshop to enhance science capacity in air pollution modeling, climate modeling, and human development impact assessment. 

Summary of Recent Activities

During the last three months of 2013, students at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) were engaged in quality control of data collected by the E-BAM instrument, an automated device for measuring airborne particulates. IITK student Amit Sharma began a five-month visit to Georgia Tech in late December 2013 to conduct simulations for current (2010) and future (2050) climates using the WRF/Chem model incorporating spectral downscaling. The PI and his U.S. partner are also continuing negotiations on finalizing a memorandum of understanding between their institutions.
 
In the next few months, the Indian and U.S. teams will continue analyzing the data and will discuss the details and findings remotely. Mr. Sharma’s visit to Georgia Tech will continue until May 15, 2014, and Dr. Tripathi is expected to visit Atlanta in June.