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Center for Climate-driven Hazard Adaptation, Resilience, and Mitigation (C-CHARM) in Great Lakes Rural Communities

Active Dates 9/1/2023-8/31/2026
Program Area Earth & Environmental Systems Modeling
Project Description
Climate change and climate-induced hazards are among the greatest threats facing our world today, and rural communities are especially vulnerable to the impacts of changing climate and economic systems. The Great Lakes region encompasses vast rural communities, including Indigenous communities and post-industrial communities, that rely on natural resources and have limited adaptation capacity. Accordingly, the Center for Climate-driven Hazard Adaptation, Resilience, and Mitigation (C-CHARM) in Great Lakes Rural Communities works with community partners to understand rural vulnerabilities and enhance rural resilience to natural hazards and electrical power disruptions in the face of climate change and energy system transitions.

The pilot study region is the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, an area facing numerous climate-related hazards and community resilience challenges due to its remote location, varied terrain, long winters, and unique environmental features. The area includes rural, small urban, and tribal communities whose economies have experienced decline due to the historical importance of industries such as shipping, mining, and logging. To ensure that research benefits these communities, C-CHARM brings together experts in climate science, engineering, data science, and social sciences while forging partnerships with local and regional governments, non-profit organizations, and other community stakeholders. Team efforts are organized into four focus areas and integrated into the open-access toolkit for application and community engagement. The focus areas include: 1) Local-scale climate simulations for historical and future periods using an atmosphere-land-lake model developed by our team; 2) Severe weather, flood, and landslide risk assessment and visualization in an open-access toolkit; 3) Expansion of the toolkit to include current  and future energy infrastructure scenarios; and 4) Evaluation of the economic impacts of energy system transitions and geohazard risk mitigation. A community engagement plan encompasses all research activities to ensure co-production and application of project results in community decision-making.

Through fostering mutual trust, collaboration, and knowledge sharing, the C-CHARM team will enhance climate resilience, equity, and sustainability in rural communities. Specifically, C-CHARM will expand climate research supported by the Department of Energy at universities and national labs and translate this research to address challenges in the Great Lakes region. In doing so, the project will build capacity at local scales by connecting with affected communities and empowering local talent and expertise to address resilience challenges and inform equitable solutions. Information will be incorporated into hazard mitigation planning, tailored for climate education programs, and used as training resources to help local communities assess their climate risks and implement adaptation measures. Finally, this project will help to inform climate resilience for rural America beyond the immediate study region and help to identify future research priorities. Project findings will be disseminated through open-access publications, presentations at local, regional, and national conferences, and targeted outreach to community members, policymakers, and the media.
Award Recipient(s)
  • Michigan Technological University (PI: Xue, Pengfei)