Media Watch


New assessment tool shows Bay Area counties with highest wildfire risk

KABC San Francisco -
While doing things to protect your home will help, the study concluded that a community-wide effort is needed to create a real firewall. One option is to greatly increase the number of controlled burns, according to a study released out of UC Irvine. "Our study shows that winter and spring are feasible times of the year that more prescribed burns should be done to help mitigate these extreme wildfires that we could see in the future," said Janine Ann Baijnath-Rodino [postdoctoral scholar] with UC Irvine's Environmental Engineering Department. Read More

Research recommends extending California's prescribed burning season -
"California's wildfires have been getting worse every year in recent decades, owing to factors such as climate change and a century-long fire deficit coupled with a buildup of vegetation and fuels," said study leader Tirtha Banerjee, UCI assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. "Prescribed burns can help alleviate this problem, but only if they're done with adequate frequency and over a large enough territory in the places where they are needed." Read More
Drug Discovery News

Shrinking toys inspire diagnostics and wearable sensors of the future

Drug Discovery News -
At the height of their popularity in the 1980s, no one could have guessed that Shrinky Dinks would inspire tiny diagnostic tests or sensors to detect changes in a person’s health. While these inexpensive and easy-to-access toys may have started as a childhood pastime for Michelle Khine, a bioengineer at the University of California (UC), Irvine, they became her inspiration for a new way to diagnose and monitor disease. Read More
Orange County Register

Coastal fire a harsh reminder that fire season is longer, more intense

The Orange County Register -
A year ago, researchers at UC Irvine issued a report on Southern California wildfire trends that concluded what any non-scientist, long-time resident already knew – there have been a lot more wildfires in the region during this century.  … “Each new year of the 21st century has been a record-breaker in terms of wildfire damage in California,” said report co-author Tirtha Banerjee, an [assistant] professor of civil & environmental engineering at UCI. [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here:] Read More
Popular Science

Lake Powell’s drought is part of a growing threat to hydropower everywhere

Popular Science -
When hydroelectric power isn’t reliable, people typically turn to fossil fuels, says Brian Tarroja, an energy researcher at the University of California, Irvine. “You do want to build new assets, more renewable energy, more storage, more flexibility and all that stuff,” he says. … That could mean plants that work with lower amounts of water. Even more crucial, he says, is making sure that other renewable energy sources are built up as well. Otherwise, shortcomings in hydropower will continue to mean sliding back into fossil fuel use. Read More
Daily Pilot

Foothill wins Vital Link electric race car competition at UC Irvine

Daily Pilot -
High school students saw their ideas hit the pavement Saturday morning at UC Irvine. The annual Vital Link Energy Invitational took place at a parking lot on campus, with 11 high school teams racing their self-built electric cars in four heats. Two different teams from Foothill High placed first and third in the contest, which judged cars based on their efficiency using the following formula: 10 million, divided by (watt hours times total seconds). [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to] Read More

Should utilities rethink the power transmission model?

Marketplace -
Brian Tarroja, [senior scientist], a researcher at the University of California, Irvine, said …. “What we should talk about is not so much the question of whether the grid is ‘ready for it,’ but what are the steps that need to be taken to accommodate these new resources?” he said. According to Tarroja, building the solar plants, wind farms and battery storage is the first part of the equation. Then states have to build the infrastructure to get that electricity from the power plants into people’s homes and businesses. Read More
Daily Pilot

High school students go green for Energy Invitational race car competition

Daily Pilot -
Twenty-six high school teams from Orange County and Long Beach have been tasked with building the most efficient electric car they can. Their cars were inspected last weekend, and it’s all been leading up to race day Saturday morning at Parking Lot 70 at UC Irvine. … The teams will be back on track racing this year for the competition, originally created by UC Irvine engineering [Distinguished] Professor Michael McCarthy. [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to] Read More
Popular Science

Southeast Asia’s months-long heat wave is untenable for human health

Popular Science -
This extreme weather is “part of a broader climate-change signal,” Amir AghaKouchak, [professor of civil and environmental engineering and Earth system science], a climate researcher at the University of California, Irvine, told Tech Review. Even incremental increases in global temperature will cause extreme heat events like this to become more and more frequent. Read More
Spectrum News

100 x 100 Beaches Project to measure changes in SoCal

Spectrum News 1 -
A team of students at the University of California, Irvine is working to document how much the beaches have narrowed using just pictures of the beach. One of the students is Victoria Lee, third-year civil engineering major. … She is part of the university’s 100 by 100 Beaches Project. Lee explained that it's a “project where we measure beach change over 100 years, every 100 meters.” The focus, according to Lee, is beach erosion. … Daniel Kahl is a graduate student helping the team of undergrads. Read More