Media Watch

Bioluminescent waves fueled by plankton super swimmers -
Now, for the first time, a study led by scientists at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Jacobs School of Engineering has pinpointed how this plankton species — a dinoflagellate — was able to create such an exceptionally dense bloom. The answer lies in dinoflagellates’ remarkable ability to swim, which lends them a competitive advantage over other species of phytoplankton. According to the authors, this swimming ability can lead to the formation of dense blooms, including those of the bioluminescent variety. … In addition to [Drew] Lucas, [Bofu] Zheng, and [Clarissa] Anderson, the study was co-authored by Peter Franks, Tamara Schlosser, Uwe Send, and Andrew Barton of Scripps Oceanography; Kristen Davis [associate professor of civil & environmental engineering] of the University of California Irvine; and Heidi Sosik of WHOI. Read More
The Desert Sun

How one Cathedral City neighborhood was destroyed by Tropical Storm Hilary

Palm Springs Desert Sun -
“The flood zone was something that was known, what I think no one expected was the possibility of mud coming down and maybe clogging up some of the designated flow paths, causing them to back up and flow into this neighborhood,” said Brett Sanders, professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Irvine. Sanders says the mud could have resulted from the intensity of the rainfall, which can mobilize more sands and turn into a mudflow. [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to] Read More  

Flights scrapped, businesses shut as super typhoon Saola nears Hong Kong, Guangdong

Reuters -
The havoc caused by typhoons depends on how long they linger over land, one expert told Reuters, citing the example of Tropical Storm Rumbia in 2018. "Despite its moderate intensity, (Rumbia) had an exceptionally long lifespan, lasting a total of 132 hours, with over three days spent over mainland China," said climatologist Shao Sun, [visiting associate researcher, civil & environmental engineering], of the University of California, Irvine. Read More

6 Ways to Boost Diversity Among STEM Faculty

Maryland Today -
Succeeding in academia isn’t always just about exhibiting creativity and hard work—sometimes a “hidden curriculum” of unwritten rules and cultural expectations creates impediments for underrepresented scholars that peers from majority groups never experience. Particularly in STEM fields, this helps lead to severe underrepresentation in both degrees granted and faculty hires in colleges nationwide. … The paper’s other co-authors hail from the University of Texas at Austin; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Tennessee; the University of Florida; the University of Washington; Purdue University; the University of California, Irvine; Brown University; the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; the University of Michigan; Texas A&M University; the University of Massachusetts Amherst; the University of California, Santa Barbara; Arizona State University and Vanderbilt University. Read More

Opinion: Our clean energy transition requires hydrogen — we must treat it fairly

The Hill -
Jack Brouwer, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the Clean Energy Institute (CEI) at the University of California, Irvine writes, “Congress came together to pass the bipartisan Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes substantial investments in clean energy technologies. Notably, clean hydrogen received a production tax credit to empower its competition against polluting fossil fuels. … Congress recognized the urgency of nurturing the clean renewable hydrogen industry, and action is required now. Establishing infrastructure and supply chains takes time. Starting the green hydrogen industry now is essential to achieve zero emissions by mid-century, saving lives and enhancing the quality of life … Read More
CBS Los Angeles

OC Supervisors hold climate resiliency investigation hearing

UC Irvine Professor [of engineering] Brett Sanders is a beach erosion expert. The UCI Flood Lab has documented those beaches eroding the fastest, from Sunset Beach, south to San Clemente. Not only do beaches serve as a natural defense against big storms according to Sanders but Orange County sand attracts millions of tourists. “Beaches are the number one driver of Orange County’s tourist economy,” said Sanders. People come to Orange County because of Disneyland, because of beaches and they come here and they stay in our hotels and they go to our restaurants and all these things create jobs for Orange County.” Read More

The Winds That Doomed Lahaina

Wired -
 “How is the wind channelized in the gap between two trees? Believe it or not, that actually matters a lot,” says UC Irvine atmospheric scientist [and associate professor of civil & environmental engineering] Tirtha Banerjee, who studies how wind influences wildfire. “That has an impact on how the fire burns.” And once those winds reached the town of Lahaina, they poured between buildings in complicated ways, further confounding predictions for where the fire might spread.” Read More
The Washington Post

Hilary lashes wide swaths of California, Nevada with flooding, mudslides

The Washington Post -
researcher at University of California at Irvine said that Southern California’s infrastructure may not be able to handle the expected rainfall from Tropical Storm Hilary. “I am personally worried about the combination of infrastructure that’s undersized to contain an event of this magnitude and an area that has experienced a number of wildfires,” said Brett Sanders, a professor of civil and environmental engineering. [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here:] Read More
USA Today

'The next Maui could be anywhere': Hawaii tragedy points to US wildfire vulnerability

USA Today -
Now, experts from around the world are taking a second look at many places that may also be at risk after Maui's crisis, which now is among the top ten deadliest wildfires on record in the U.S. since 1871. "The next Maui could be anywhere," said Tirtha Banerjee, a civil and environmental engineering [associate] professor at the University of California, Irvine. "Realistically, almost any place could have a wildfire. … There seems to be a consensus among those in the scientific community that it might get worse for a bit before it gets better," Banerjee said. Read More

Beijing’s record rainfall

Reuters -
"Our own studies suggest that the frequency, intensity and spatial coverage of heavy rainfall events all increase as a consequence of climate warming," said Shao Sun, a [visiting associate] researcher [in engineering] with the University of California, Irvine, who studies China's weather. … Sun and his research team have predicted that the likelihood of extreme precipitation events in northern China will rise by 18%, 20% and 27% under low, medium and high emission scenarios. Read More