Atlanta UREx Synthesis
Atlanta City Team: David Iwaniec, Lelani Mannetti, Robert Hobbins, Robert Lloyd, Charlyn Green, Joy Ward, Stephanie Williams, Zaire Loatman, Claire Smith
Existing SETS Conditions
With a population of over 472,522, the City of Atlanta encompasses approximately 135mi2 (~350 km2) in a metropolitan area that is home to 5.7 million people, making it the 9th largest metropolitan area in the US. At 1,050 feet (320 meters) above sea level, the city has one of the highest elevations among major cities east of the Mississippi River, and it straddles the Eastern Continental divide. Atlanta has a humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and temperate winters. In 2020, 73 days reached 90°F (32.2°C) or higher; that number is projected to increase to 93 days for the year 2040. Given its elevation and proximity to coastal areas that have been hard hit by natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans in 2004 and Houston’s more recent experience with Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Atlanta is increasingly a destination for climate-change refugees. Yet Atlanta is not immune to severe weather events. In September 2017, Atlanta experienced its first tropical storm as Irma lashed the region, resulting in two deaths, shutting down government offices, schools, public transportation and energy infrastructure, and costing the state of Georgia $336 million in damages. Furthermore, Atlanta’s hilly topography and aging infrastructure have resulted in severe flooding, catastrophically in 2009, when an estimated 10 to 20 inches (25 to 50 cm) of rain fell in less than 24 hours, overwhelming local watersheds and causing loss of life and $500 million in damages to the state. These impacts were felt most significantly in lower-income, predominantly Black neighborhoods in Atlanta, many of which had been developed in low-lying, flood-prone areas. Atlanta’s racially segregated spaces exacerbate the uneven risks of climate vulnerability in this southeastern city.
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Kunkel, K. (2019) Scenarios of Climate Extremes: Atlanta, GA. Internal report from NSF Urban Resilience to Extreme Events SRN #1444755 and SETS Convergence #1934933
Muse, Nkosi Mark MS, “An Analysis of Climate Resilience Planning in Atlanta, Georgia.” Thesis, Georgia State University, 2020. https://scholarwork