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



Wednesday, April 20, 2022

AirUCI faculty Jun Wu is quoted in an article on pregnancy and air pollution published April 20th in The 19th.  While the main topic is wildfire smoke and its health effects, Jun describes risks to pregnancy due to multiple sources of air pollution.  “What we found is that for women living in areas with higher air pollution, the risk of developing gestational diabetes is higher,” she said. "Their babies are also at higher risk of being born preterm."  Read the article

Monday, April 18, 2022

AirUCI Co-Director Sergey Nizkorodov has been recognized as the Dr. De Gallow Professor of the Year, one of the 2022 Campus-wide Teaching Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching presented by the Office of the Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning.  Recipients are selected by members of the Academic Senate Council on Teaching, Learning, and Student Experience and by members of the groups providing the monetary awards.  Selections are based on campus-wide nominations from peers, colleagues, and students.  Congratulations, Sergey!

To congratulate Sergey and the other winners, the 29th Celebration of Teaching reception will be held on Thursday, April 21, from 4:30-6:00 pm in Doheny A/B. Please RSVP for the event.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

A study by AirUCI faculty Jim Randerson and AirUCI postdoc Yue Li is adding to the capacity for measuring the impacts of deforestation on surrounding areas.  A key aspect of modeling that has until now remained unmeasured is the degree to which deforestation in tropical rainforests like the Amazon and the Congo contributes to additional forest losses because of its effect on regional climate.  “We used Earth system models to quantify what the climate impact from tropical deforestation is today,” said Yue, “then we used this information with satellite observations of forest biomass to figure out how nearby forests are responding to these changes.”  Jim added: “This paper shows that avoiding deforestation yields carbon benefits in nearby regions as a consequence of climate feedbacks."  Read the article

Sunday, April 10, 2022

AirUCI faculty Steve Davis has written, along with three other environmental experts, an opinion piece for this week's Sunday edition of the New York Times.  The article stresses the importance of acting on steps we can take right now using today's technologies to begin reversing the rate of carbon, methane, and other emissions that cause climate change.   We don't need to waste precious time debating details, such as just how much carbon reduction is needed to offset particular events.  We know conclusively that we need to reduce these greenhouse gases, no matter what the final measurements may be.  "The next steps are clearer and more affordable than they have ever been.  Rather than getting distracted by distant and likely irreducible uncertainties, let’s focus on what matters: deploying clean technologies we know we need, implementing a coherent climate policy, laying the groundwork for future progress, and creating a just transition that shares the benefits of a sustainable energy system.” 
Read the article

Thursday, April 7, 2022

As part of a larger ALPACA research project, AirUCI faculty Manabu Shiraiwa sent three of his team members to Alaska in the middle of winter.  From January to March 2022, Dr. Ting Fang (postdoc), Sukriti Kapur, and Kasey Edwards (grad students) conducted field studies to collect and analyze air samples in the Fairbanks region, which has some of the worst air quality in the United States.  Similar field campaigns have focused on air pollution in cold places like Denver, Utah, and regions in the eastern U.S. but Fairbanks has colder and darker conditions than these places, and “there remain important knowledge gaps in our understanding of the wintertime pollution and chemistry taking place at this location,” said Sukriti.  Read the article

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

AirUCI faculty Jim Smith and his grad student Jeremy Wakeen are profiled in an article describing their research into the chemical composition of sea salt particles and their effect on climate change.  Their project, based on the beach at Crystal Cove, has been sampling and analyzing marine air to help determine the size of the particles and how much of them are salt and how much are organics.  Read the article

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

AirUCI faculty Claudia Czimczik and her team have published a new study of permafrost emissions during autumn and winter months.  For the first time they were able to directly measure these gases using a new tool designed by the Czimczik researchers, and their findings contradict current thinking that the Arctic soil microbes take a break during colder months and generate fewer greenhouse gases than in summer and spring.  Read the article

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

AirUCI faculty James Randerson is quoted in a Los Angeles Times article describing how climate change is decimating Anza-Borrego State Park. Between 1984 and 2017, his study found that native vegetation declined 37.5% across a study area that stretched from the U.S.-Mexico border to Palm Springs.  "You think of it as a super-hot and dry place, but it’s also vulnerable to climate change,” said James.  Read the article

Friday, March 18, 2022

As we typically do, numerous AirUCI researchers are giving presentations at the 2022 ACS Spring Conference to be held March 20 - 24 in San Diego.  Faculty, researchers, students — even a summer undergraduate and our current Fulbright Fellow — will be speaking in person and/or presenting posters at this prestigious event.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

AirUCI faculty Jun Wu is quoted in a March 15th Healthline article saying that leaded gasoline continues to be one of the most significant sources of environmental toxicity in the United States. “Definitely it’s on the top of the list for long-term impact on IQ and children’s cognitive ability and future success and achievement,” she said. “Lead paint and lead pipes are relatively localized, but leaded gasoline really brought the issue to a regional and national scale.”  Read the article