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Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management

A collection of scholarly work published by and supporting the Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management (CESEM) at Arizona State University.

CESEM focuses on "earth systems engineering and management," providing a basis for understanding, designing, and managing the complex integrated built/human/natural systems that increasingly characterize our planet.

Works in this collection are particularly important in linking engineering, technology, and sustainability, and are increasingly intertwined with the work of ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS).

Mime Type
  • application/pdf
Date Range
2012 2014

Global climate models predict increases in precipitation events in the Phoenix-metropolitan area and with the proposition of more flooding new insights are needed for protecting roadways and the services they provide. Students from engineering, sustainability, and planning worked together in ASU’s Urban Infrastructure Anatomy Spring 2016 course to assess i) how historical floods changed roadway designs, ii) precipitation forecasts to mid-century, iii) the vulnerability of roadways to more frequent precipitation, iv) adaptation strategies focusing on safe-to-fail thinking, and v) strategies for overcoming institutional barriers to enable transitions. The students designed an EPA Storm Water Management Model for the City of …

Al Rasbi, Omar, Archer, Harold, Azizi, Tariq Aziz, et al.

There is increasing evidence that vehicle travel in developed countries may have peaked, contradicting many historical travel demand forecasts. The underlying causes of this peaking are still under debate and there has been a mobilization of research, largely focused at national scales, to study the explanatory drivers. There is, however, a dearth of research focused at the metropolitan scale where transportation policy and planning are frequently decided. Using Los Angeles County, California, as a case study, we investigate the Peak Car theory and whether social, economic, and technical factors, including roadways that have become saturated at times, may be contributing …

Fraser, Andrew, Chester, Mikhail

The Food-Energy-Water (FEW) nexus is the interaction and the interdependence of the food, energy and water systems. These interdependencies exist in all parts of the world yet little knowledge exists of the complexity within these interdependent systems. Using Arizona as a case study, systems-oriented frameworks are examined for their value in revealing the complexity of FEW nexus. Industrial Symbiosis, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Urban Metabolism are examined. The Industrial Symbiosis presents the system as purely a technical one and looks only at technology and hard infrastructure. The LCA framework takes a reductionist approach and tries to make the system …

Natarajan, Mukunth, Chester, Mikhail

As average temperatures and occurrences of extreme heat events increase in the Southwest, the water infrastructure that was designed to operate under historical temperature ranges may become increasingly vulnerable to component and operational failures. For each major component along the life cycle of water in an urban water infrastructural system, potential failure events and their semi-quantitative probabilities of occurrence were estimated from interview responses of water industry professionals. These failure events were used to populate event trees to determine the potential pathways to cascading failures in the system. The probabilities of the cascading failure scenarios under future conditions were then …

Bondank, Emily, Chester, Mikhail

Recent developments in computational software and public accessibility of gridded climatological data have enabled researchers to study Urban Heat Island (UHI) effects more systematically and at a higher spatial resolution. Previous studies have analyzed UHI and identified significant contributors at the regional level for cities, within the topology of urban canyons, and for different construction materials. In UHIs, air is heated by the convective energy transfer from land surface materials and anthropogenic activities. Convection is dependent upon the temperature of the surface, temperature of the air, wind speed, and relative humidity. At the same time, air temperature is also influenced …

Burillo, Daniel, Chester, Mikhail, Kaloush, Kamil, et al.

This report updates Supplementary Information section (Recirculating Cooling) of Bartos and Chester (2015). Extraneous derivations have been removed and an error corrected. Impacts of Climate Change on Electric Power Supply in the Western U.S., Matthew Bartos and Mikhail Chester, Nature Climate Change, 2015, 4(8), pp. 748-752, doi: 10.1038/nclimate2648,

Bartos, Matthew, Chester, Mikhail

With potential for automobiles to cause air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions relative to other modes, there is concern that automobiles accessing or egressing public transportation may significantly increase human and environmental impacts from door-to-door transit trips. Yet little rigorous work has been developed that quantitatively assesses the effects of transit access or egress by automobiles. This research evaluates the life-cycle impacts of first and last mile trips on multimodal transit. A case study of transit and automobile travel in the greater Los Angeles region is developed. First and last mile automobile trips were found to increase multimodal transit trip …

Christopher, Hoehne, Chester, Mikhail

Recent climatic trends show more flooding and extreme heat events and in the future transportation infrastructure may be susceptible to more frequent and intense environmental perturbations. Our transportation systems have largely been designed to withstand historical weather events, for example, floods that occur at an intensity that is experience once every 100 years, and there is evidence that these events are expected become more frequent. There are increasing efforts to better understand the impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure. An abundance of new research is emerging to study various aspects of climate change on transportation systems. Much of this …

Chester, Mikhail, Fraser, Andrew, Bartos, Matthew

Climatic changes have the potential to impact electricity generation in the U.S. Southwest and methods are needed for estimating how cities will be impacted. This study builds an electricity vulnerability risk index for two Southwest cities (Phoenix and Los Angeles) based on climate-related changes in electricity generation capacity. Planning reserve margins (PRM) are used to estimate the potential for blackouts and brownouts under future climate scenarios. Reductions in PRM occur in both cities in 2016 with the most significant reductions occurring in regions relying more heavily on hydropower.

Sivaraman, Deepak, Bartos, Matthew, Chester, Mikhail, et al.

In recent years, concerns have grown over the risks posed by climate change on the U.S. electricity grid. The availability of water resources is integral to the production of electric power, and droughts are expected to become more frequent, severe, and longer-lasting over the course of the twenty-first century. The American Southwest, in particular, is expected to experience large deficits in streamflow. Studies on the Colorado River anticipate streamflow declines of 20-45% by 2050. Other climactic shifts—such as higher water and air temperatures—may also adversely affect power generation. As extreme weather becomes more common, better methods are needed to assess …

Bartos, Matthew, Chester, Mikhail