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Extreme Storms

  • June 14, 2018
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago

Huge downpours, massive flooding, heat waves, prolonged droughts—these extreme events are occurring more frequently, and with greater intensity. “100-year-floods” are occurring every year or two; should we consider these weather events the new ‘normal’? How are cities and regions responding and planning under such uncertainties?

In this program, we will discuss the science behind these storms, the challenges in coping with changing weather patterns, new technologies and approaches to adapting to these realities, and the impact on the public and citizens in these areas.


Marcelo Garcia, PhD, is the M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Chair in Civil Engineering and Director of the Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory at the University of Illinois. He is a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Engineers (ASCE) and a Fellow of ASCE’s Environmental Water Resources Institute. García is also the Founding Director of the Centro Internacional de Grandes Rios (CIEGRi) at UNL, Santa Fe, Argentina. He served as editor of the International Journal of Hydraulic Research (IAHR), and served as Editor-in-Chief of the ASCE Manual of Engineering Practice 110 "Sedimentation Engineering." In 2005, he was elected Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Engineering of Argentina. Related to water problems in the State of Illinois, García has developed physical models of the Boneyard Creek, Urbana, to help in the solution of flooding problems. He re-designed low-head dams on the Chicago, Fox and Vermillion Rivers to reduce the number of drowning accidents, and designed canoe chutes for the same dams in order to increase the safe recreational use of Illinois Streams. He has also worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate navigation problems caused by sedimentation and vegetation in the Upper Mississippi River Basin as well as with the Chicago River Control Structures, controlling the diversion of water from Lake Michigan in Chicago.  He also served in the expert review board for the Fargo-Moorhead flood protection scheme. Since 2003, he has led a major effort to develop hydrologic and hydraulic models of the Tunnel and Reservoir Plan (TARP) being built the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC). 

Elisabeth Moyer, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences and an affiliate with the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. She co-directs the Center for Robust Decision-making on Climate and Energy Policy, an NSF-funded interdisciplinary center focused on open-source tools to support decisionmaking. Moyer's research spans atmospheric science, climate statistics, and energy and climate policy analysis. Her climate research focuses on the statistics of evolving climate states; her atmospheric science research focuses on the processes that control the distribution of water vapor and formation of cirrus clouds in the upper troposphere and stratosphere. She holds both an A.B. in Anthropology (Archaeology) and a B.S. in Physics with honors from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the California Insitute of Technology. 

Donald J. Wuebbles, PhD, is the Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Illinois. He is also a Presidential Fellow at the University of Illinois, with the aim of helping the university system develop new initiatives in urban sustainability. From 2015 to early 2017, Dr. Wuebbles was Assistant Director with the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the Executive Office of the President in Washington DC, where he was the White House expert on climate science.  He was Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois from 1994 to 2006. Dr. Wuebbles led the development of the School of Earth, Society, and Environment, and was its first director. Dr. Wuebbles is an expert in atmospheric physics and chemistry, with over 500 scientific publications related to the Earth’s climate, air quality, and the stratospheric ozone layer. However his work goes well beyond that through providing analyses and development of metrics used in national and international policy and in developing analyses for understanding climate impacts on society and ecosystems, plus potential resilience and societal responses. He has co-authored a number of international and national scientific assessments, including several international climate assessments led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that resulted in IPCC being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He was a leader in both the 2013 IPCC international assessment of climate science and the 2014 3rd U.S. National Climate Assessment. More recently, he co-led the Climate Science Special Report, the 475-page first volume of the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment published in November 2017 that assesses the science of climate change. Dr. Wuebbles has also led special assessments of the impacts of climate change on human society and ecosystems for the U.S. Midwest, the Northeast, and a special assessment for the city of Chicago.

Dr. Wuebbles has received several major awards, including the Cleveland Abbe Award from the American Meteorological Society, the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and is a Fellow of three major professional science societies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society.

Moderator: Elizabeth A. Kócs, PhD, is Director of Programming, Outreach, Research and Education for the Energy Initiative, Adjunct Assistant Professor for Urban Planning and Policy, and Faculty Fellow for the Honors College at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where the focus of her work is to develop and lead the strategic direction of the UIC Energy Initiative. She is an environment-behavior scientist at the intersections of energy, technology, economics, society and urban resilience, and her scholarly work spans environmental research on energy and sustainability perspectives and the built and human environments. As Editor-in-Chief for the Materials Research Society (MRS) Energy & Sustainability journal, Dr. Kócs brings her unique interdisciplinary perspective to the journal’s scope on energy and sustainability as it relates to the impact of materials on society. Dr. Kócs earned her B.Arch. in Architecture from Pratt Institute (New York), and PhD in Environmental Psychology from the City University of New York Graduate Center.


DETAILS: Thursday, June 14, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium (lower level), 400 South State Street, Chicago, IL 60605.


This program is FREE to attend, and seating will be first come, first served. Can’t make it live? This program will be recorded and livestreamed to C2ST’s Facebook page, and will be available at a later date in its entirety on our YouTube channel, C2ST TV. 


This program is generously supported by the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund. It is presented jointly by C2ST and Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Center. 

Click here for complete details.

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