Skip to main content

Ashish Sharma

Climate and Urban Sustainability Lead at DPI


Dr. Ashish Sharma is the Climate and Urban Sustainability Lead at the Discovery Partners Institute, University of Illinois System. He is a faculty in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He holds a joint appointment as a Climate Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. He is the Director of the NSF-UKRI joint-funded Global Center on Clean Energy and Equitable Transportation Solutions (CLEETS). He is named to Crain's Chicago Business' 40 Under 40 class of 2023.

Dr. Sharma completed his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Arizona State University. Dr. Sharma has expertise in atmospheric sciences, focusing on regional climate, air quality, and assessing adaptation and mitigation strategies. Through collaborative research across science, engineering, social sciences, and policy, he studies environmental justice issues, including heat, fog, air quality, and high-impact weather. Dr. Sharma has secured funding of $40M+ as PI or co-PI from diverse agencies, such as the U.S. DOE, NSF, NASA, Walder Foundation, IBM, and ComEd Exelon Energy. Dr. Sharma is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society. He serves on the Trust for Public Land's Natural Solutions Tool advisory committee (2022). He has co-authored an assessment of climate change impacts on the Great Lakes region (2019), a special climate assessment for Illinois (2021), and a NOAA report on aligning research priorities to enhance resilience to extreme heat (2019). As a co-author of the first climate action plan for the Chicago metro region (2021), he has received numerous awards, including the American Planning Association Merit in Sustainability Award (2022) and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions Climate Leadership Award (2021). The Illinois State Museum exhibits his work on climate change, injustice, and heat in Chicago. He has contributed as a reviewer for the IPCC report and many international scientific journals. Dr. Sharma is a US EPA Science Advisory Board member for the EJ Screen review panel. He is also a member of the Illinois Commission on Environmental Justice and the Illinois State Museum, appointed by the Governor. He is the Associate Editor of the Frontiers in Environmental Science: Atmosphere and Climate journal. He has testified on a subject matter hearing on urban heat island effect and solutions to the City of Chicago Committee on Environmental Protection and Energy (2021). He has briefed the U.S. Senate Climate Taskforce, U.S. House of Representatives, and congressional staff on Capitol Hill on the impacts of climate change in the Great Lakes Region (2019). 

Research Interests

  • Regional climate modeling: Land/ocean/lake-atmosphere interactions, lake breeze, UHI effect, land data assimilation, hydrometeorological extremes
  • Microscale modeling: Climate modeling at hyper-local scales (~m scales)
  • Climate adaptation and mitigation: Interactions between urban ecology and urban heat island in a changing climate, green and cool roofs, energy consumption and savings with best practices
  • Air quality modeling: meteorology and atmospheric chemistry feedbacks
  • Climate action plans: climate policies
  • Other focus areas: Machine Learning (ML), crime and environment  


  • Ph.D. Aerospace Engineering, Arizona State University, 2012
  • M.S. Aerospace Engineering, Arizona State University, 2009
  • B.Tech. Electronics and Communication Engineering, Jaypee University of Information Technology, 2007 



  • National Science Foundation (NSF): A Proposed Workshop on Interdisciplinary Sustainable Solutions for Urban Systems in a Changing Climate (Award no: 1929856); PI Donald Wuebbles, Ashish Sharma, Lei Zhao, and Amy Ando; duration: 05/01/2019 – 04/30/2020; $50,000
  • DOE, DoD, NASA, and NOAA: A Proposed Workshop on Urban Scale Processes and their Representation in High Spatial Resolution Earth System Models; PI Donald J. Wuebbles (UIUC), Katherine Calvin (PNNL), Charles Catlett (ANL), Beth Drewniak (ANL), Rao Kotamarthi (ANL), Ashish Sharma (UIUC): 10/01/2018 - 09/30/2019
  • EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI): Cover crops prevent nutrient runoff and promote climate resiliency in Great Lakes watersheds (GL 00E02207); PI Alan Hamlet (ND), Ashish Sharma (UIUC), Jennifer Tank (ND), Sheila Christopher (ND), and Todd Royer (IU); duration: 08/01/2017 – 07/31/2020; $564,314 

Awards and Honors

  • 2023 Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40
  • Climate Leadership Award at the Annual Climate Leadership Conference hosted by the EPA selected Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry.
  • Fellow, Royal Meteorological Society (2016-present)
  • Executive Committee Member, Illinois Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (IL-CURES) (2019-present)
  • Exhibit in the Illinois State Museum on the impacts of climate change, injustice and heat in Chicago 

selected publications

Kristovich, D.A., Takle, E., Young, G.S. and Sharma, A., 2019. 100 years of progress in mesoscale planetary boundary layer meteorological research. American Meteorological Society 100-Year Anniversary Monograph.

Sharma, A., Hamlet, A.F., Fernando, H.J.S., Catlett, C.E., Horton, D.E., Kotamarthi, V.R., Kristovich, D.A.R., Packman, A.I., Tank, J.L. and Wuebbles, D.J., 2018. The Need for an Integrated Land‐Lake‐Atmosphere Modeling System, Exemplified by North America's Great Lakes Region. Earth's Future6(10), pp.1366-1379.

Sharma, A., Woodruff, S., Budhathoki, M., Hamlet, A.F., Chen, F. and Fernando, H.J.S., 2018. Role of green roofs in reducing heat stress in vulnerable urban communities—A multidisciplinary approach. Environ. Res. Lett., 13(9), p.094011.

Sharma, A., Fernando, H.J., Hamlet, A.F., Hellmann, J.J., Barlage, M. and Chen, F., 2017. Urban meteorological modeling using WRF: a sensitivity study. Int. J. Climatol. , 37(4), 1885–1900.

Sharma, A., Conry, P., Fernando, H.J.S., Hamlet, A.F., Hellmann, J.J. and Chen, F., 2016. Green and cool roofs to mitigate urban heat island effects in the Chicago metropolitan area: Evaluation with a regional climate model. Environ. Res. Lett., 11(6), 64004.

Conry, P., Sharma, A., Potosnak, M.J., Leo, L.S., Bensman, E., Hellmann, J.J. and Fernando, H.J., 2015. Chicago’s heat island and climate change: Bridging the scales via dynamical downscaling. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 54(7), 1430–1448.