Media Watch

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
CBS Los Angeles

Southern California prepares for Hurricane Hilary

“That stretch of the coastline [San Clemente and Capistrano Beach] has been starved of sand for decades,” said Brett Sanders, UCI engineering professor. “It’s now trying to survive with very little sand in the system. So the efforts that we are taking to put more sand in are going to be good for that whole stretch of coastline but we need to do more to restore it to a natural state.” Professor Sanders says Hilary could create runoff that eventually pulls sand toward the coast but it takes many years to fill back our beaches that have seen decades of erosion. [Starts 3:39] Watch More  

Stem cells can help build lab-grown organs that mimic real life

Science News Explores -
Enter the organoid-builders, like Quinton Smith. A chemical engineer [and assistant professor], he works at the University of California, Irvine. He and others are pioneering a new type of research. They’re marrying tech and biology to create better organ mimics. To answer scientific questions, these high-tech cellular communities can be poked, prodded, beamed at and hit with chemicals — so that our bodies don’t need to be. Read More
Los Angeles Times

Going car-less in L.A.: The environmental benefits and economic costs

Los Angeles Times -
“We’re not ready to live without cars at this point in most parts of California,” said Jean-Daniel Saphores, professor [and chair] of the department of civil and environmental engineering at UC Irvine. Saphores, who studied the carless population, said such people generally fall into two categories. There are people … who choose not to have a car for a variety of reasons, whether it’s health, convenience, the environment, or something else entirely. … The other group is made up of people who can’t afford cars, Saphores said. [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to] Read More  
Orange County Register

Building a beach: Already visitors are enjoying more sand at Capistrano Beach

The Orange County Register -
Last week, a team from UC Irvine showed up with drones as part of a once-a-month monitoring program that will measure the sand through April. The team sets out GPS markers to take images spanning from Doheny State Beach to Poche Creek. The images are stitched together to makes 3-D models, said Jo Schubert, research specialist for UCI’s department of civil engineering. … And the data will give decision-makers more information to evaluate the effectiveness of the project and be informed for future strategies, said UCI lead researcher Daniel Kahl, [graduate student] who will also be analyzing NASA satellite data for the project. [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here:] Read More

3 universities developing technologies to enhance and save lives

Study International -
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine is ranked 21st in US News & World Report’s current listing of best public engineering graduate schools. Its Department of Biomedical Engineering has a mission statement which succinctly encompasses its teaching and identity: inspire engineering minds to advance human health. “This mission is well integrated within and supported by our local community as Orange County is home to 150 biomedical device companies,” says Zoran Nenadic, William J. Link professor and Biomedical Engineering chair. Our department has strong ties to the UC Irvine’s School of Medicine, with many of our faculty members holding joint appointments there or collaborating with clinicians to translate their technologies from the laboratory to the bedside.” Read More
The Wall Street Journal

Earth Just Had Its Hottest Month Ever. How Six Cities Are Coping.

The Wall Street Journal -
Taps are running dry in Tehran as millions in Iran and neighboring Iraq face water shortages that are being compounded by the effects of rising temperatures. … Roughly 80% of water use goes to agriculture, according to Soroosh Sorooshian, a University of California, Irvine professor of civil and environmental engineering, who grew up in Iran and whose family was in the farming business. [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here:] Read More

More than a million displaced as China’s Hebei region reels after record rains

Shao Sun, [engineering visiting associate researcher], a climatologist who studies meteorological hazards at the University of California Irvine, told CNN that northern China has faced intensifying extreme rain over the past decade and needs to enhance its disaster defense capabilities. … “The drainage design standards in northern Chinese cities need further improvement to withstand the increasing frequency of extreme weather events caused by climate change,” he said. Read More
Nature International Weekly Journal of Science

How Beijing’s deadly floods could be avoided

Nature -
One factor behind Beijing’s recent vulnerability to floods is its rapid development, says Shao Sun, [engineering visiting associate researcher], a climatologist at the University of California, Irvine. … “China’s rapid urbanization has led to a proliferation of impermeable surfaces,” he says. “Green spaces such as parks and gardens play a vital role in water retention. Their dwindling presence due to urbanization diminishes their capacity to effectively manage excessive rainfall.” Read More