2023 Media Watch Archives

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Los Angeles Times

Heavy surf pounds the Southern California coast, prompting warnings and shutting down piers

Los Angeles Times -
This year, the flood potential along the coast has also increased partly because current El Niño conditions in the Pacific have raised the sea level on the California coast, said Brett Sanders, a UC Irvine professor of civil and environmental engineering who studies flood risks. He said that’s one of several compounding factors, along with beach erosion and long-term sea-level rise driven by climate change, that in the coming years “will contribute to more coastal flooding events like the ones we’ve seen this weekend.” Read More
San Francisco Chronicle

California rain: Map shows areas prone to significant flooding

San Francisco Chronicle -
“The U.S. government has done a poor job mapping flooding at the level that’s needed for the individual homeowner to size up that risk,” said Brett Sanders, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Irvine. … Sanders led a recent study that found far more people in the greater Los Angeles area are at risk of flooding than FEMA maps indicate. The researchers calculated the flood risk due to heavy rains, streamflow and coastal storm tides in unprecedented detail — down to the level of streets and buildings. … “We can pinpoint for every property how much hazard there is,” Sanders said. Read More

San Clemente’s $14 million beach-building project kicks off

The Orange County Register -
San Clemente’s beach building is officially underway. Officials gathered on Monday, Dec. 18, to mark the start of the long-awaited San Clemente Shoreline Sand Replenishment Project, with heavy equipment in the backdrop shifting sand to make way for the dredged sediment pulled from the ocean floor in Oceanside. … UC Irvine civil and environmental engineering professor Brett Sanders said the project is the start of a commitment to help a coastline that has suffered in recent years. “We have such a heightened state of awareness today with sea level rise and coastal impacts that these coastal issues are going to be the priority,” he said. Read More

Who benefits from the 405 Freeway’s new express lanes? More than just the people who use them

The Orange County Register -
“It’s basically a win-win for almost everybody, the express lanes,” said UC Irvine economics professor Jan Brueckner, a member of the university’s Institute of Transportation Studies. … Sarah Catz, a UC Irvine transportation researcher and former OCTA board member, said another benefit of the express lane tolls is they bring in a consistent revenue stream to be used for maintenance. “There isn’t enough money out there for all the maintenance that has to be done on our roads, unfortunately,” Catz said. “To have this constant pot of money to keep it maintained and to improve (the 405 corridor) is very important.” Read More
The San Diego Union-Tribune

Climate change imperils San Diego County’s coastal rail corridor, panelists say

The San Diego Union-Tribune -
Climate change is “wreaking havoc” on the coastal rail corridor from Santa Barbara to San Diego, Sen. Catherine Blakespear said Monday at a Senate Transportation Subcommittee meeting in San Clemente. … “We can’t shut down this corridor,” said Sarah Catz, a researcher at the University of California, Irvine’s Institute of Transportation Studies. “It’s just way too important. It’s critical that we keep ... freight alive, and that we keep passenger service alive.” Read More

Challenges facing key rail line’s future discussed in San Clemente

The Orange County Register -
Ted Link-Oberstar, transportation and housing consultant for the Senate Office of Research …. suggested the state consider an expanded, more formal role to take the lead. Sarah L. Catz,  a researcher for the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Irvine, echoed those thoughts during the hearing, saying a state-led study and oversight is needed so there is a singular point off contact that can coordinate with federal agencies. Read More

San Clemente’s mega sand project gets start date

The Orange County Register -
UC Irvine civil and environmental engineering professor Brett Sanders, whose team is tracking the results of a smaller-scale sand project recently completed further north at Capistrano and Doheny State beaches, said the San Clemente project and a similar replenishment effort that just launched at Surfside-Sunset Beach north of Huntington Beach bring a lot of benefit for the region. … “We know that beaches drive tourism and recreation – the economic activities that produce state and federal taxes and fill the coffers of coastal cities, [Sanders said]. Read More
Popular Science

These 10 scientists are on the cusp of changing the world

Popular Science -
Quinton Smith: Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; University of California, Irvine. … Researchers have spent decades laying the foundations for today’s organoid experiments. … Smith’s lab at the University of California, Irvine, which was founded in 2021, is one of many around the globe tinkering with these organ models. But his team stands apart with a game-changing new technique, growing tissue from stem cells to mimic our organs and how they interact with drugs. Read More
ABC News

What causes fire embers to spread more quickly

ABC News -
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine who study the behavior of fire embers have determined the majority of fire damage in major wildfires comes from embers that have the ability to move far away from the actual burn site. They also have studied how strong wind gusts can send even large embers flying long distances where they can land and create new spot fires. "We are trying to understand under what conditions the embers are lofted away from the fire," Tirtha Banerjee, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Irvine, told ABC News. "So, how fast do they emerge? How many of these embers can emerge and how far they can really land?" Watch More
ABC News

Tips for making your home more fire-resilient

ABC News -
We’ve really come to the experts. … They’ve been working for years on how to predict but also how to prepare for wildfires. … So let’s start with what they are studying. We hooked up with UC Irvine’s Tirtha Banerjee and his whole group who’s been doing these field studies while they look at how wildfires spread. They learned a couple of years ago, that the embers can go miles ahead of the fronts of fires but  now they are studying in the field, for the first time, how each of those embers are shaped, their velocities, how they act and this will help predict where fires will go in the future. It will be invaluable research that will then be put into a lot the modeling. Watch More


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