Media Watch


After revival, Iran’s great salt lake faces new peril

Science -
The shallow lake was at its most expansive in recent decades in the late 1990s …. But a 5-year dry spell that began in 1998 was coupled with increasing water diversion for irrigation. “We call it anthropogenic drought,” says Amir AghaKouchak, [professor of civil & environmental engineering], a hydrologist at the University of California (UC), Irvine, who first visited Urmia as a student in 1998. … In the past few years, such worries receded as ample precipitation helped boost lake levels by about 1.5 meters. “Nature has been kind,” says Soroosh Sorooshian, [Distinguished Professor, civil & environmental engineering], a water expert at UC Irvine. Read More

Most Of LA, Ventura, San Bernardino Counties Are Now In ‘Severe Drought’: Report

A new report by U.S. Drought Monitor says that most of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, as well as half of Riverside County, are now in ‘severe drought.’ … “When you have this perfect combination you have dead trees, you have dry fuels, you have a very dry atmosphere—this is the perfect recipe for massive wildfires,” added Tirtha Banerjee, assistant professor at UC Irvine. Read More
Marine Log

ZEI’s hydrogen-powered craft project gets $2 million grant

Marine Log -
The California Energy Commission has awarded Zero Emissions Industries (ZEI) a $2 million grant to design, build and test a first-of-its-kind hydrogen fuel cell powered small, fast harbor craft. … ZEI partners in the project include Watershed Innovation …. Another project partner, the Advanced Power and Energy Program at the University of California, Irvine will collect and process project, vessel and system data to provide clear, unbiased conclusions regarding the performance and usage of the hydrogen systems. Read More
Irvine Weekly

UC Irvine Study Shows State’s Wildfire Season Expanding, Peaking Earlier

Irvine Weekly -
Tirtha Banerjee, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Irvine, and co-author of the study, explained this study was accomplished by comparing data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection between 1920-1999 to current wildfire data between 2000-2019. “CALFIRE data show that each new year of the 21st century has been a record-breaker in terms of wildfire damage in California,” Banerjee said. Read More

Disability Awareness Conversations: Amy Huynh on Allyship

Where are you from? “I am from Irvine, California and my parents immigrated to the United States from Vietnam.” What are you studying?“I am an undergraduate senior at University of California, Irvine double majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering.” What motivated you to apply to a NASA internship? “NASA has been a dream of mine since high school, but it never seemed like it could be a reality for me. In middle school, I was one of only three girls in my woodshop class where I had the opportunity to build and launch my own model rocket.” Read More

How to decarbonize California transportation by 2045 -
A team of transportation and policy experts from the University of California released a report today to the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) outlining policy options to significantly reduce transportation-related fossil fuel demand and emissions. Those policy options, when combined, could lead to a zero-carbon transportation system by 2045, while also improving equity, health and the economy. … The University of California demand study was conducted by researchers from the UC Institute of Transportation Studies, a network with branches at UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, and UCLA. Read More
The Arizona Republic

As a hotter, drier climate grips the Colorado River, water risks grow across the Southwest

The Arizona Republic -
“The main issue is the snow drought everywhere in the entire West, including Arizona, Utah, California, Colorado,” said Amir AghaKouchak, a professor in UC Irvine’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “When the snow is below average, it means low-flow situations in summer, drier soil moisture. And drier soil moisture increases the chance of heat waves.” The upshot, he said, is that “we have to prepare for a different hydrologic cycle, basically.” Read More

California's wildfire season has lengthened, and its peak is now earlier in the year -
Researchers in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine have conducted a thorough analysis of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection wildfire statistics from 2000 to 2019, comparing them with data from 1920 to 1999. They learned that the annual burn season has lengthened in the past two decades and that the yearly peak has shifted from August to July. The team's findings are the subject of a study published today in the open-access journal Scientific Reports. Read More
UCI Gets Most of $8M Grant

Startups & Innovations – New hires

Orange County Business Journal -
GATC Health of Irvine announced Jonathan Lakey will lead the development of the company’s diagnoses and treatment platform. He also joined its board of advisors. Lakey is a professor of surgery and biomedical engineering and the director of the clinical islet program at the University of California, Irvine. [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to] Read More
Car and Driver

Running on Empty: There's a Lot to Like About Hydrogen, If You Can Find It

Car and Driver -
Jack Brouwer, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine, says it's "very unfortunate that the infrastructure has not been sufficient for quite a few people" who drive hydrogen-powered vehicles. Certainly, he says, it hasn't grown as quickly as EV-charging infrastructure, with "many more millions spent" on those stations. In December, California pledged $115 million to add up to 111 more hydrogen-fueling stations by 2027. "I'd suggest it's too slow, but it is coming along," Brouwer says. Read More