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



Tuesday, January 16, 2024

In January 16th article in the journal Eos, AirUCI faculty Steve Davis is quoted on the concept of submerging seaweed as part of a strategy for mitigating climate change. When these algae photosynthesize, they turn carbon dioxide from the upper ocean into biomass, potentially locking its carbon away for hundreds or even thousands of years, drawing down levels of carbon in the atmosphere. But there are questions about ocean nutrients, ecosystems, and the ability to monitor the effects of submerged seaweed.  "Assessing the effect of sinking seaweed is hard enough, even if you know how much seaweed you’ve harvested and sunk. Having the seaweed drifting around will make it harder," said Steve.  Read the article

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

AirUCI grad student Katie Hopstock (Nizkorodov group) is the 2024 Graduate Student Awardee in Environmental Chemistry.  This award is given annually by the American Chemical Society's ENVR Division and recognizes graduate students who are working in areas related to environmental chemistry.  The award is based on student transcripts and record of research productivity.  Congratulations, Katie!


Friday, December 29, 2023

In a December 29th article in Wired Magazine, AirUCI faculty Steve Davis is quoted on the likely losses of food crops that we are facing due to the effects of climate change. The loss of traditional growing areas doesn’t only affect the major staple crops—specialty crops such as olives, wine grapes, hops, and oranges are also at risk.  Adaptation strategies such as plant breeding and crop relocation are underway, but adaptation by migration has limits, says Steve. You can, for instance, move a crop in search of lower temperatures but not find the water that it needs to grow.  Read the article

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

On December 20th we learned that Patricia Morris, AirUCI undegrad in the Finlayson-Pitts group, had her proposal to the Undergrad Research Opportunities Program accepted and funded!  UROP provides recognition and funding to UCI undergraduate students from all disciplines in support of research or creative activities under the guidance of UCI faculty members.  Way to go, Patricia!

Thursday, December 14, 2023

AirUCI faculty Jack Brouwer is quoted in a Nature article that discussed concerns about water usage in the generation of green hydrogen for alternative fuels.  Green hydrogen needs to be produced from low-carbon energy sources like wind and solar power, but water is needed to power and operate hydrogen-generating electrolyzers which split the water atoms into hydrogen and oxygen.  "Hydrogen’s water consumption is small compared to what’s currently used in fossil-energy conversion and inconsequential compared to agricultural water use,” says Jack, “but there are serious water availability and delivery challenges at the local and regional levels that will need to be considered.”  Read the article

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

AirUCI faculty Jack Brouwer is quoted in an article describing how California is moving to integrate hydrogen power into our energy systems as the state strives to meet its goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.  In October, the federal Department of Energy chose California as one of seven hydrogen hubs, regions where the agency will fund coordinated networks of hydrogen fuel producers, purveyors, and consumers.  A University of California-backed consortium called the Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems, or ARCHES,  will steer up to $1.2 billion in federal funding toward 39 hydrogen infrastructure projects up and down the state.

ARCHES is prioritizing projects that will replace diesel and other dirty fuels used in trucking, port operations and electricity generation. And at least 40 percent of ARCHES benefits will flow to California’s disadvantaged communities alongside freeways, ports, and power plants.  “They're exposed to diesel combustion emissions and they're dying prematurely, they're getting cancer, they're getting asthma,” Jack says. “So I'm super proud that we are focusing the application of hydrogen to these very things that will make the biggest difference in people's lives.”  Read the article

Friday, November 17, 2023

AirUCI faculty Steven Davis, James Randerson, and Vojislav Stamenkovic are among the 13 UCI faculty members who have qualified for Clarivate’s 2023 list of the most influential researchers, as “demonstrated by the production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1 percent by citations for field and year.”  This Clarivate designation comprises those who have shown significant and broad influence in their field.  Congratulations to Voya, Steve, and Jim!  Read the article

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

A November 14th New York Times article dives deep into the 5th National Climate Assessment, the government’s premier compilation of scientific knowledge on what climate change means for America and how we respond.   The report, to which AirUCI faculty Steve Davis was a contributing author, details how American life is under growing threat from climate change and it is effectively too late to prevent many of the harms from worsening over the next decade.  From the food we eat to the roads we drive to our health and safety to our cultural heritage to natural environments to a flourishing economy, global warming caused by human activities is threatening major changes to nearly every cherished aspect of our society.  “People sometimes focus so much on the stuff that we don’t know how to do that it paralyzes them in thinking about the options that we have today,” said Steve. Read the article

Friday, November 10, 2023

On November 7th, a fire broke out at one of Orange County's most historic structures, one of the "lighter than air" base hangars in Tustin.  Built in WWII, the hangars housed blimps and other aircraft which patrolled the coast for Japanese submarines and ships.  The fire triggered air quality alerts in the area due to toxic fumes and some neighborhoods were evacuated.

AirUCI faculty Michael Kleinma was quoted in an Orange County Register article on the blaze.  Given when the largely wooden structure was built, Mike said there’s a very good chance arsenic was used to treat the wood and that lead was used in its paint.  “As long as this thing smolders, it will continue to put out toxic material,” he said.  “The plumes from something like this can travel for miles and those particles can get into nearby homes even when windows are closed.”  Children and people with health conditions are most at risk from exposure, said Mike, but he advises anyone who can see or smell obvious exposure to stay with relatives or friends out of the area for a while if they can. 

Read the article  Hear the interview

Monday, November 6, 2023

In an article in The Hill, AirUCI faculty Steve Davis is interviewed about his recent study on production of synthetic dietary fats and the potential environmental benefits. The widespread manufacture of farm-free food could yield numerous environmental and societal benefits — enabling people to "eat our way" out of a burgeoning climate crisis, according to Steve.  “Such ‘food without the farm’ could avoid enormous quantities of climate-warming emissions while also safeguarding biodiverse lands that might otherwise be cleared for farms,”  Read the article  Second article