Here's the latest news from AirUCI — our events, our people, our science.



Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The California Department of Justice announced today that AirUCI is among the applicants selected to receive research funds to study air pollution from vehicle tires and brakes.  This is a groundbreaking project that involves 12 of our AirUCI faculty, headed by Primary Investigator Barbara Finlayson-Pitts, and spans the schools of Physical Sciences, Engineering, Social Sciences, and Health Sciences. Along with AirUCI Project Scientists and other research staff, we are partnering with the Madison Park Neighborhood Association in Santa Ana, a non-profit environmental justice organization who will assist in collection of data and in communication of findings to local residents.
The funds, part of Volkswagen's settlement in 2016 for falsifying emissions data, are designated for research that addresses air quality issues, particlularly those affecting areas that are disproportionately exposed to vehicle emissions.  Barbara notes that even though emissions of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and other gases are expected to drop as internal combustion engines decline as a power source for vehicles, tires and brakes and other sources of airborne grit will persist and are small enough to be inhaled.  This project aims to gain a better understanding of the health effects of these particles.  Read the article

Thursday, September 16, 2021

AirUCI faculty Jun Wu is listed among a stellar collection of UCI scientists and engineers who are "warriors in the fight against climate change."  The article notes her work in the effects of pollution and climate change on health, particularly how extreme heat affects pregnancy outcomes.  Read the article

Monday, September 13, 2021

A study conducted by the team of AirUCI faculty Eric Saltzman — including grad student John Patterson and AirUCI Project Scientist Murat Aydin — has shown that molecular hydrogen increased by 70% in Earth’s atmosphere from 1852 to 2003.  The field study was conducted at Megadunes, Antarctica collabortively with scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Colorado Boulder, and UC San Diego, along with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.  John is quoted saying that the bulk of the growth in H2 is attributable to human activities, especially those resulting in transportation-sourced emissions, but a portion of the increase is still unaccounted for.  Read the article

Friday, September 3, 2021

AirUCI grad student Audrey Odwuor in the Czimczik and Randerson research groups has been measuring the smoke and analyzing air samples taken at Lake Tahoe's Caldor fire.  She is featured in a YouTube video and describes her project in detail, part of how UCI scientists are responding to the breathing emergency in fire evacuation zones.  Watch the video

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

AirUCI faculty Scott Samuelsen is the principal investigator in a new traffic study in which 25 intersections in the city of Irvine, including 9 on the UCI campus, are being equipped with next-generation traffic sensors designed to collect data in real time.  This project is also a major achievement for the new HORIBA Institute, with AirUCI faculty Vojislave Stamenkovic as its director.  The information collected in the study is used to implement instant adjustments to the flow of traffic.  "The advanced sensors will be able to detect the traffic flow then respond by adjusting the length of time a traffic light stays red, green, or yellow.  Information on what’s going on in the intersections, how many pedestrians, how many motorcyclists, how many bicyclists, (will reveal) how we can better establish traffic signal control to make it much more user friendly,” Scott says.  Details     Read the article

Friday, August 20, 2021

AirUCI faculty Michael Prather, a review editor for the August 2021 IPCC report, provided some insights to the Irvine Weekly into the report's conclusions as well as analysis of the findings of the research.  Although the situation has become more urgent, Mike also had some suggestions for adaptation and some relatively easy changes everyday people can make in their lives that will help reduce greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.  Read the article

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

AirUCI faculty Michael Kleinman is quoted in an NBC News article on the apparent correlation between wildfire smoke and Covid cases observed in multiple studies. “About two weeks after we had these smoke exposure events, we saw an uptick in the Covid-19 incidents, even in a low-density pollution area, that were beyond what you would have predicted normally,” said Mike, who co-wrote the Orange County study as a co-director of UCI's Air Pollution Health Effects Laboratory. "And then, as the smoke dissipated, the peak went back down. This happened three times with three different smoke exposures.” Read the article

Thursday, August 12, 2021

An August 11, 2021 New York Times article discusses a new peer-reviewed study that casts doubt on the use of hydrogen as a clean source of energy.  Most (blue) hydrogen used today is extracted from natural gas in a process that requires a lot of energy, emits vast amounts of CO2 and also releases methane. In fact, the energy used to make hydrogen usable as a sustainable fuel emits more across its entire supply chain than simply burning natural gas, according to the study.
Jack says that, "... green hydrogen would ultimately need to be made using renewable energy, which... would eliminate the fossil and the methane leaks."  He also noted that blue hydrogen, made from fossil fuels, could still act as a transition fuel but would ultimately be "a small contributor to the overall sustainable hydrogen economy. First we use blue, then we make it all green."   Read the article

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

AirUCI faculty Michael Dennin is the subject of an article in the Orange County Business Journal that is following up on recipients of their 2020 Business Innovators Award.  They note that Mike has kept up his role as “the Superhero Scientist” on a YouTube show called Fascinating Gadgets, Gizmos, & Gear Based Technologies. In addition to teaching Physics courses, over the past year he has also kept busy with his full time job as Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and as Dean of Undergraduate Education at UCI. Mike has also managed to find time for five new episodes of his podcast, “Conversations with the Vice Provost” where he interviews UCI experts in their fields, such as how a library works in today’s world.

Monday, August 9, 2021

AirUCI faculty Michael Prather was a major contributor to the 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. In addition to his research citations, he was involved in the scoping (outlining) of the report and as a Review Editor.  Michael, who has been a regular contributor to several previous IPCC reports, was also cited more than 30 times in this report which was released on August 9, 2021 and which received much attention around the world.  Unlike most recent IPPC reports which have included a greater AirUCI and University of California presence, this one had only Michael and one other UC contributor amid a reduced effort overall from the United States.