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



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

On August 9th, after release of the 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, AirUCI faculty Michael Prather was interviewed on KCRW radio's Press Play With Madeleine Brand program.  Michael, who is a contributor to this as well as several previous IPCC reports, described the changes we can expect in weather patterns and other issues based on the report's findings. 
He also says there is hope for stabilizing global warming if we act now.  “You must have a concerted effort. … You're looking at these goals for governments arguing [that] by 2035, by 2050, we will be either reduced to 20%, or we will be carbon neutral. That's at least the goal that people should be having. And if you have that goal, whether you achieve it or get close to it, then you will probably make a significant impact on the future climate.”  Read the article and hear the podcast

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. 

Saturday, August 7, 2021

In 2020, AirUCI Project Scientists Lisa Wingen and Veronique Perraud, along with recent PhD recipient Allison Vander Wall (all from the Finlayson-Pitts group), submitted a paper entitled "Evidence for a kinetically controlled burying mechanism for growth of high viscosity secondary organic aerosol" to the journal Environmental Sciences, Processes and Impacts.  They are running an initiative on ESPI to highlight the best content published in the journal during 2020, and after a selection process involving the journal’s Editorial and Advisory Board members, their paper has been selected as one of the Runner-Up Best Papers of 2020.  Congratulations to Allison, Lisa, and Vero... well done!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

KABC-TV reporter David Ono traveled to Japan while the focus is on the Olympics to report on the progress made to convert power generation and fuel sources to green energy, specifically hydrogen.  AirUCI faculty Jack Brouwer is featured in the interview talking about the benefits of using and storing hydrogen as a power source.  "If we really want to achieve zero emissions in all sectors of the economy, we absolutely need hydrogen to do it," says Jack.  View the video

Monday, August 2, 2021

AirUCI Co-Director Sergey Nizkorodov is the recipient of the 2021 Daniel G. Aldrich, Jr. Distinguished University Service Award. This prestigious award, established in 1990, is given to professors who are respected scholars and who have made outstanding contributions of service to the University of California and/or public service.
An outstanding contribution is not defined simply as having served on a large number of Senate Committees, although such may be one of the factors, but as service which leads to the betterment of the academic and/or personal lives of large segments of the University community.  Sergey has an extensive history of such service, but a few of his recent examples in the Department of Chemistry include: Vice Chair for Academic Programs and Curriculum, Chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Curriculum, and Chair of the TA Assignment Committee.  Examples of his service to the UCI campus include chairing the Subcommittee on Courses and Continuing Education, Science in Action faculty representative, and several panels involving everything from graduate research fellowships to the strategic plan for the School of Physical Sciences.  In addition, he is Vice President of the American Association for Aerosol Research and is an Associate Editor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.
This list only scratches the surface of all that Sergey does in addition to being AirUCI's Co-Director and a busy Professor of Chemistry with numerous grants and research projects to oversee.  His dedication to the graduate student community is tireless and his results are excellent.  We are thrilled that he has been recognized with this well-earned honor.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

AirUCI faculty James Randerson is quoted in an MIT Technology Review article on the effects of wildfires in carbon storage.  Climate change is making wildfires worse in most forested areas of the globe, he says, and fires, droughts, insect infestations, and shifting climate conditions will convert major parts of California’s forests into shrublands.  Among other impacts, that will clearly complicate the state’s reliance on its lands to capture and store carbon through its forestry offsets program and other climate efforts.  Read the article

Monday, July 26, 2021

In an article in the Orange County Register, AirUCI faculty Jack Brouwer is taking issue with potential changes to solar energy policy that encourages rooftop panels but neglects energy storage.  California is reviewing its solar incentive program at the urging of large utility companies, who argue that non-solar customers unfairly foot the bill.  Proponents of green energy want to increase the state's solar generation, but a problem with increasing the rooftop capacity is that most of the excess energy is sent back to the power grid during the middle of the day, when demand for power is lowest.  “You have so many people installing solar that the electricity it produces costs the utilities money to manage it in the middle of the day,” Jack says.  “People are playing games with solar policy when they know it’s not sustainable until we have long-term storage.  Until the utilities find a a way to cheaply store energy long term, they will not want more solar in the middle of the day.”  Read the article

Thursday, July 22, 2021

AirUCI grad student Shane Coffield (Randerson group) is quoted in the Daily Pilot as lead author on a study that shows how the decrease in California's vegetation due to massive fires could cause up to a 16% decrease in the state’s natural carbon storage capacity.  Since part of the state’s goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 involves putting more carbon into the land, with the help of vegetation that absorbs CO2 and stores it, the substantial increase in drought conditions and wildfires that have killed so many trees are leading to carbon being emitted to the atmosphere, not sequestered, so the state's mitigation models may be incorrect.  Read the article

Friday, July 9, 2021

On July 9th, U. S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh came to learn about the workforce implications of developing more sustainable transportation infrastructure, including a nationwide network of electric vehicle charging stations, a key component of proposed legislation currently being negotiated in Congress.  Two local Congressional representatives, Katie Porter (CA-45) and Mike Levin (CA-49) attended the meeting, as did City of Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan, Chancellor Howard Gillman, and other University of California dignitaries.
AirUCI faculty Scott Samuelsen and Jack Brouwer, both also with our partner organization APEP, discussed a variety of research projects happening at UCI with the goal of decarbonizing transportation in the United States.  Secretary Walsh was shown an array of sustainable transportation assets, part of UCI's zero-emissions support system and transportation fleet.  Read the article