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



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, 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, 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

Monday, February 6, 2023

In a February 6th article in Wired, AirUCI faculty Jim Randerson is quoted on the effects of El Nino on the Amazon rain forest.  In general, there is less precipitation in the Amazon basin in El Nino years due to its influence on atmospheric circulation.  "The rain falls more on the ocean,” says Jim. “It just doesn’t rain as much on global land. The continents lose water, especially South America.” Although every El Nino is different, typically more drought in the Amazon is expected.  Read the article

Monday, February 6, 2023

A study in Nature Sustainability by AirUCI faculty Steve Davis and his team (in collaboration with the Colorado School of Mines and the International Renewable Energy Agency in Germany) discusses the challenges of moving the airline industry toward more sustainability.  AirUCI grad student Candelaria Bergero is the main author on the study and notes that, "Flying will be particularly hard to decarbonize because of its appeal and popularity as a mode of transportation and its reliance on energy-dense liquid fuels.”  However, steps toward this goal are available and Steve says, "We are optimistic that through targeted innovation, good public policy and corporate climate action, our society can make progress toward achieving net-zero commercial aviation.”  Read the UCI article and the Scientific American article

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Amid the escalating transition to green energy, recent research has shown that the amount of minerals required for the shift to renewables is significant, but falls well within the amount of reserves available.  AirUCI faculty Steve Davis is co-author on a recent study which found that current reserves of minerals like aluminum, copper, manganese, silver and more should support building enough wind and solar power to meet climate targets.  What’s more, the mining from those operations would not have an outsized impact on global warming, but much still must be done to ensure that mining is safe for ecosystems.  Read the article

Monday, January 30, 2023

AirUCI faculty Jim Randerson is quoted in an article published in the High Country News describing the loss of forested land in California — over 7% of our forests since 1985.  It's worse in Southern California, where the forests in our southwestern mountains lost 14% of tree cover.  Rising temperatures and aridification mean that forests once considered fairly fire-resistant, such as old-growth coastal redwoods, can no longer rely on wet weather conditions for fire protection. Read the article

Thursday, January 12, 2023

KABC-TV has interviewed AirUCI faculty Jim Randerson about the effect the current series of severe storms is having on California's forests. While flooding and mudslides wreak havoc in populated areas, the heavy rain and snow are providing the trees with some relief from the decades-long drought.  Jim says this additional precipitation may stave off a mass die-off of trees in the Western U.S. Read the article


Thursday, December 22, 2022

An article in Forbes highlights Solutions That Scale, a partner program with AirUCI which was founded by a number of AirUCI faculty among others.  AirUCI is listed among the campus centers working to solve environmental issues, and the article details the many ways that UCI leads the world in green technology.  James Randerson, Jack Brouwer, and other AirUCI faculty and collaborators are featured, as are descriptions of our projects in Engineering, ESS, and other areas of AirUCI research.  Read the article