Associate Professor Winston Chow professional photo

Winston Chow

Winston Chow is an Associate Professor of Urban Climate and Lee Kong Chian Research Fellow based at Singapore Management University’s (SMU) College of Integrative Studies. He is an interdisciplinary scholar who researches on urban aspects of climate change, and also teaches climate change and sustainability at undergraduate, graduate and executive development levels.  

Research Interests

  • How do cities become more at-risk and vulnerable from climate change impacts? 
  • Why are cities warmer than their rural surroundings, and what can we do to reduce this heat? 
  • How can subtropical and coastal cities become more sustainable and resilient to climate change? 

Dr. Chow is an Associate Editor for the journal Climate Risk Management, and an Editorial Board member for Landscape and Urban Planning and PLOS Sustainability and Transformation.

Since 2017, Dr. Chow has had major engagements both in local and international climate affairs. Locally, he is a co-Lead Principal Investigator for the multi-institute Cooling Singapore Initiative, which develops climate-resilient solutions to address the urban heat challenge in Singapore. Internationally, he was a Lead Author on multiple “urban” chapters of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s 6th Assessment Report into Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, as well as a member of its Task Group on Data Support for Climate Change Assessments.

International climate work 

During the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Cycle, Dr. Chow was first engaged as a Scoping Expert, then as a Lead Author for the IPCC chapters on “Cities, Settlements and Key Infrastructure,” and “Cities and Settlements by the Sea” in Working Group II’s Sixth Assessment Report published in 2022, and a selected Member of the Task Group on Data Support for Climate Change Assessments.

The three assessment reports were released from August 2021 – April 2022, and are essential reading for policymakers and other stakeholders in understanding the current state of global climate change. 

Together with his author colleagues, who also volunteer their time freely for the organisation, his contributions helped the IPCC to receive the 2022 Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity.

Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

The Working Group II contibution to the Sixth Assessment Report assesses the impacts of climate change, looking at ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities at global and regional levels. It also reviews vulnerabilities and the capacities and limits of the natural world and human societies to adapt to climate change.

A community is needed to foster and enable transformative change, and I’ve learned that we (as a species) have much more in common than we have differences.

During my time in the IPCC engaging with different governments, I’ve learned that each country is driven by their own national interests. How to reconcile these disparate interests can be done – it takes time and effort! – but the community for climate action gets bigger, and the odds for successful and long-term change gets larger.

– Youth Ecosperity Dialogue Keynote Speech, June 2022

Associate Professor Winston Chow  at a panel discussion at Melbourne Centre for Cities

Difficult Urban Questions- Cities@Melbourne Symposium 2022

Dr. Chow was a speaker for the plenary panel: Can City Research Solve Difficult Global Challenges? that took place in the University of Melbourne, October 2022

COP27

Dr. Chow was a speaker and moderator for events held at the Singapore Pavilion during the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, November 2022

Innovate4cities Climate Change Conference 2021

Dr. Chow spoke during a plenary on “Adaptation and Resilience as Integrated Approaches to Tackling Climate Change” during this virtual conference held in October 2021  

 

People have always wondered which is the critical component of climate that really affects your discomfort. Is it low wind speed? Is it high air temperatures? Is it high radiation from the sun?…We get a handle on that, it can help a lot with smarter urban design at the planning level or with how individuals deal with heat

– On the Cooling Singapore Initiative, quoted in the New York Times, August 2022

Local climate research 

Dr. Chow is the co-Lead Principal Investigator of Cooling Singapore (CS) initiative, which involves researchers from SMU with other Singapore-based research institutes looking for solutions to deal with Singapore’s urban heat problems. He has been involved in the project through different phases – CS1.0 and CS1.5 – since 2017.

Currently, the initiative is in its third phase – Cooling Singapore 2.0 (CS2.0). The research project aims to build a Digital Urban Climate Twin (DUCT) comprising of several environmental and urban models for stakeholders to assess which heat adaptation and mitigation options can effectively reduce heat risks within the city.  

Associate Professor WInston Chow at SMU City Dialogues<br />

SMU City Dialogues 2019

Dr. Chow, Ms. Ms Heng Li Lang (Temasek Foundation), Mr. Gavin Chua (Meta), and Professor Shauna Brail (University of Toronto) at SMU City Dialogues titled “Inspiring Solutions: Growing Green, Can sustainable urban development nuture continued economic growth in Singapore?” in October 2019

Associate Professor Winston Chow speaking at the World Cities Summit 2022

World Cities Summit 2022

Dr. Chow presented on the topic of  “Enabling Climate-Resilient Development Cities & the Singapore Green Plan 2030” at Sands Expo & Convention Centre, July 2022

Associate Professor Winston Chow at CLC Lecture series as a moderator

Centre for Liveable Cities Singapore Lecture Series 2019

Dr. Chow and Jeff Goodell at Centre for Liveable Cities Singapore Lecture Series “The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities and the Remaking of the Civilized World” in May 2019