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



Friday, April 14, 2023

AirUCI Co-Director Barbara Finlayson-Pitts has been invited to speak on April 14th as part of the True Distinguished Lectureship series at the University of Iowa.  Her talk is entitled, "Chemistry, Coughing and Climate: Challenges and Opportunities in the Air Quality-Climate Nexus."

Friday, April 7, 2023

AirUCI Co-Director Sergey Nizkorodov and AirUCI collaborator Christian George of the National Center for Scientific Research at the University of Lyon, France, have published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that offers a new understanding of how hydroxide (OH) molecules help clear the atmosphere of human-emitted pollutants and greenhouse gases.  They found that a strong electric field that exists at the interface between airborne water droplets and the surrounding air can create OH by a previously unknown mechanism.  “OH is a key player in the story of atmospheric chemistry.  It initiates the reactions that break down airborne pollutants and helps to remove noxious chemicals such as sulfur dioxide and nitric oxide, which are poisonous gases, from the atmosphere,” says Christian, lead author on the study. 

The current common assumption is that sunlight is the chief driver of OH formation in the atmosphere.  Their research found that OH production rates in darkness mirror those and even exceed rates from drivers like sunlight exposure.  “Enough OH will be created to compete with other known OH sources,” said Sergey.  “At night, when there is no photochemistry, OH is still produced and it is produced at a higher rate than would otherwise happen.” " In the pure water itself, OH can be created spontaneously by the special conditions on the surface of the droplets.”  Read the article


Monday, April 3, 2023

Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson, a former postdoc with AirUCI faculty Barbara Finlayson-Pitts and John Hemminger and honorary AirUCI team member, was selected to sing the National Anthem at the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship final game held April 3, 2023.  Check it out on YouTube! 


Monday, March 27, 2023

On Monday, March 27th, AirUCI faculty Jim Smith and his research group will host a visit by Coty Jen of Carnegie Mellon University.  Prof. Jen will be meeting with Jim's team and other AirUCI faculty to tour our labs and discuss collaborative research projects.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

The annual World Air Quality Report issued by IQAir was released this week and AirUCI grad student Cynthia Wong (Nizkorodov group) contributed to the report.  Cynthia held an internship with IQAir in the summer and fall of 2022 and worked on data analysis that focused on levels of PM2.5 in different regions of the world. The air quality data utilized in the 2022 World Air Quality Report was sourced from IQAir’s realtime online air quality monitoring platform which validates, calibrates, and harmonizes air quality data from monitoring stations located around the world. View the CNN broadcast



Monday, March 6, 2023

AirUCI faculty Jun Wu was interviewed about her recent study published in The Lancet Regional Health – Americas showing that exposure to green space and tree coverage was associated with a decreased risk of postpartum depression among mothers. “This is the first study of its kind that examined the relationship between diverse green spaces, postpartum depression, and the role of physical activity,” said Jun, and it suggests that city planners and public health professionals should develop policies and interventions that increase the amount of tree coverage to create a beneficial environment for community members.  Read the article

Thursday, March 2, 2023

AirUCI faculty Steve Davis led a study of carbon dioxide emissions from forest fires in this century. The study, published in Science,showed a big spike in CO2 emissions from far north fires in 2021 and led the researchers to some shocking findings. “According to our measurements, boreal fires in 2021 shattered previous records. These fires are two decades of rapid warming and extreme drought in Northern Canada and Siberia coming to roost, and unfortunately even this new record may not stand for long,” Steve says. Read the article

Thursday, March 2, 2023

In an Associated Press article published March 2nd, AirUCI faculty Steve Davis is quoted about his recent study published in Science on the increasingly dry conditions of boreal forests and the corresponding risk of wildfires in far northern regions.  “This warming that’s massing in the Arctic and boreal regions is going to continue,” said Steve.  Much attention has been paid to wildfires in the western United States, tropical rainforests such as the Amazon and even the Australian bush, but boreal forests have received less attention.  "That’s disturbing," Steve said, because there is a lot of carbon stored in these northern ecosystems, which are among the most rapidly warming on the planet.  Read the article  Read the UCI article with additional details.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

AirUCI faculty Michael Kleinman was selected by the Associated Press as an expert who could comment on a controversy surrounding an updated CDC draft and whether it includes information about the effects of vinyl chloride on children.  A draft of the chemical's toxicological profile was released in early February 2023 replacing the 2006 information, but social media baselessly asserted that they removed the section on children which they viewed as suspicious timing.with the toxic train derailment in Paradise, Ohio on February 3rd.  However, experts assess that while the new report has been significantly reformatted — with some chapters and subsections changed — both documents contain the same information about children, drinking water, and cancer, even if not in the same places. “The new version sort of is a much more tightly summarized exposition, but I didn’t see them leaving out any specific studies,” said Mike.  Read the article

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

AirUCI faculty Andrea de Vizcaya Ruiz is quoted in a Valentines Day article in Forbes on the benefits of sitting by a fire and how fire features increase home valuation.  “Sitting by a fireplace generates a soothing and relaxing feeling, tranquility, and enjoyment,” she said and pointed to studies showing that blood pressure decreases and relaxation increases from sitting near fireplaces. However, emissions can trigger adverse health effects depending on the fuel source, more so in enclosed spaces.  Keeping 2-3 feet between most users and wood-burning fire features outside is recommended, while adequate ventilation and distance are key with indoor fireplaces, she notes.  Read the article