Media Watch

The Wall Street Journal

California’s Flood Defenses Held This Time, but They Are Weakening

The Wall Street Journal -
“The infrastructure is optimized to move water quickly to the ocean, and it did its job,” said Brett Sanders, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Irvine. “But had we had another storm right after that, we might have gotten close to the limits of that system.” A 2022 report from UC Irvine determined that a 100-year flood event in Los Angeles would expose more than 400,000 people to danger, with property damage of more than $50 billion, comparable to that of a major hurricane. Read More
Los Angeles Times

How California’s storms are projected to become more extreme with climate change

Los Angeles Times -
“Higher rain over snow ratio, faster snowmelt, and more intense storms can significantly impact water resource management in California,” said Amir AghaKouchak, a UC Irvine professor of civil and environmental engineering. “A shift toward more intense rain, as opposed to snow, will strain an already water-challenged environment to its limit.” … In a 2022 study, researchers at UC Irvine found that in the Los Angeles Basin, nearly 1 million people live in areas that could be threatened in a 100-year flood, and that Black and low-income communities are especially vulnerable. Read More

Climate change will bring megafloods to California

"San Diego flooding two weeks ago showed again that disadvantaged communities bear the brunt of flood impacts when infrastructure is overtopped," says Brett Sanders, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Irvine. "If this storm ends up causing mainstem flood channels to overtop, then once again there will be low-income communities impacted, leaving people scrambling to salvage their belongings and find a place to live while not losing their job from missed work." Read More
Los Angeles Times

L.A.’s flood-control system survived epic storm. But it’s losing battle with climate change

Los Angeles Times -
Scientists suggest that epic storms to come will challenge the county’s aging flood-control system. A recent UC Irvine study suggests that a 100-year flood — a deluge that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year — could rapidly overwhelm the area’s principal waterways: …. “All we initially wanted from the infrastructure was economic development and safety from flooding,” said Brett Sanders, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Irvine and co-author of the study published in the scientific journal Nature Sustainability. “So, what we’ve got are concrete race tracks that sweep water into the Pacific Ocean as quickly and efficiently as possible.” Read More
The Washington Post

Why record rain hasn’t washed away California’s water woes

The Washington Post -
More places will have to develop robust programs to restore groundwater that provide multiple “access points” for surface water to seep into the aquifer, University of California, Irvine civil engineer Brett Sanders said. Large basins serve as primary access points for groundwater to filter downward, holding large amounts of runoff and recycled wastewater that trickle into aquifers. Communities also must add smaller green spaces to improve storage and prevent flooding by helping more water get into the ground, he said. Read More
Irvine Standard

UCI engineers unlock the secret behind nature’s most effective camouflage

Irvine Standard -
With a twitch of its muscles, the tiny, venomous greater blue-ringed octopus, native to the warm waters of the Western Pacific and Indian oceans, changes the iridescent circles on its surface according to its intentions. … A group of UC Irvine engineers was so intrigued by this survival mechanism … that they created a device that recreates it. … “I like to think of it as bio-inspiration,” says Alon Gorodetsky, an award-winning professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and the paper’s lead author. … The Irvine scientists’ octopus-inspired device resembles a small, four-layered sandwich, says co-lead author Preeta Pratakshya, who recently received her Ph.D. from UCI’s Department of Chemistry. Read More
The New York TImes

The Fingerprints on Chile’s Fires and California Floods: El Niño and Warming

The New York Times -
Brett F. Sanders, an engineering professor at the University of California, Irvine, who focuses on flood management, said atmospheric river events like the one hitting the state now have been predicted by climate models and are presenting urban planners with new challenges. “The mentality of the past was that we could control floods, and contain where flooding happened. And outside of that, communities and businesses and residents could kind of go about what they do, and not think about floods,” Dr. Sanders said. “But we know now that, around the U.S., we’re seeing that infrastructure is undersized to contain the extreme weather of today.” Read More
Orange County Business Journal

OCBJ Insider

Orange County Business Journal -
Broadcom’s growth has helped spur the Samueli family’s philanthropic efforts in OC; their foundation’s $50M gift to UCI’s engineering school ranks No. 2 on this week’s list of Largest Charitable Gifts of 2023. Read More
Orange County Business Journal

The List – Charitable Gifts of 2023

Orange County Business Journal -
2023 single gift amounts Samueli Foundation – $50,000,000
Gift will launch “Engineering+” research institutes on health, society and the environment at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering; create the Office of Inreach. Stacey Nicholas – $5,000,000
Gift will establish the Women and Engineering Program, supporting the recruitment, retention and graduation of students within the Henry Samueli School of Engineering Read More

Some OC Beaches Are Disappearing. New Data Gives Clues On How To Help

LAist -
"If we're going to put investments into our beach, we want it to be as successful as possible and ultimately help sustain our beaches for the future," said Daniel Kahl, a UC Irvine graduate student and the lead author of the study. … "We can't save every beach," said Sanders, the UC Irvine professor. "But with this type of data, which systematically maps beach width change and suitability over large spatial extents, it can help federal and state officials see the value of projects that make sense, and also see the projects … where something else really should be considered," he said. Read More