In recognition of Earth Day, UC San Diego researchers gathered to discuss a range of perspectives on how the climate, human activities and other forces impact our natural world. Hear from UC San Diego scientists who are leading the way with their work on renewable materials that are paving the path to a sustainable future; building and maintaining natural reserves as living laboratories; how immersing oneself in nature motivates a life of conservation research via an “Earth Connection;” and tackling the impacts of rising CO2, temperature and drought on plants. Join us to hear fresh perspectives on understanding and conserving Planet Earth.
Drought in the West
Climate scientist Julie Kalansky discusses how drought in California and Nevada is a common occurrence, with the attendant water restrictions and threat of severe wildfires bringing the reality of climate change into sharp focus. Future climate projections for the region suggest a trend toward more extremes, including more severe and prolonged drought as well as exceptionally wet years. Learn about the science of drought and how the Scripps-based California Nevada Climate Applications (CNAP) program works to provide drought tracking and early warning in support of drought preparedness and resilience in the face of a changing climate.
Watch Research for Resilience on a Changing Planet – Drought in the West: Research and Scientific Tools for Coping with Climate Change.
Oxygen Loss in the Ocean: The Blinding Truth
Ocean oxygen levels are changing globally as a result of both natural and human-influenced processes, and in some areas low oxygen events are becoming more common. While research on terrestrial animals has shown that low oxygen levels can affect vision – a vital function for finding food and shelter and avoiding predators – the impact of low oxygen on marine life is much less well understood.
Join Scripps postdoctoral scholar Lillian McCormick for an in depth look at how and why oxygen is changing in the ocean and how her research is providing insight into the impacts of low oxygen on vision in marine invertebrates. Learn about her stunning new research results, her plans for future investigations and what we can do about oxygen decline in the ocean.
Watch Biological Impacts of Oxygen Loss in the Ocean: The Blinding Truth.
Our Impact on the Earth
“Mother Nature is not happy right now and she’s trying to tell us, in many ways,” says Kimberly Prather, Professor of Climate, Atmospheric Science, and Physical Oceanography at UC San Diego.
New weather patterns and events are causing concern but how do we know these changes are caused by human activity? Climate scientists are looking at trends over time to determine our impact on the planet.
Prather discusses recent CAICE studies aimed at advancing our understanding of how the oceans influence human and planetary health including novel experiments being conducted in a unique ocean-atmosphere simulator.
Watch — How Do We Know Humans are Impacting the Health of Our Planet? – Exploring Ethics
Bracing for Fire When the Wind Blows
As recent events have shown, strong winds can spell disaster, even without the presence of fire. But when a fire does occur, the ALERTWildfire camera network deployed across the region provides rapid confirmation of emergency wildfire 911 calls, situational awareness, and in the worst-case scenarios, real-time data to help sequence evacuations.
ALERTWildfire is a consortium of three universities: University of Nevada at Reno, UC San Diego, and University of Oregon. During the past three fire seasons (2016-2018), ALERTWildfire provided critical information for over 600 fires, including the Woolsey, Lilac, Wall, Whittier, Thomas, Tule, Woodchuck, Earthstone, Truckee, Draw, Snowstorm, Hot Pot, and Emerald fires; a 2016 arson spree in Lake Tahoe; and hundreds more.
Join Neal Driscoll to learn how California is using technology to help firefighters and improve public preparedness during wildfire disasters.