Environment

Outlook for the Polar Regions in a 2 Degrees Warmer World

December 04, 2019
International Team Assesses Widespread Effects of Polar Warming

With 2019 on pace as one of the warmest years on record, a major new study from the University of California, Davis, reveals how rapidly the Arctic is warming and examines global consequences of continued polar warming. 

The study, published today in the journal Science Advances reports that the Arctic has warmed by 0.75 C in the last decade alone. By comparison, the Earth as a whole has warmed by nearly the same amount, 0.8 C, over the past 137 years.    

Calculating the Costs of Ecological Disruption from Climate Change

November 26, 2019

What are the costs if climate change increases the risk of extinction of plants and animals? What value can be placed on reducing the risk of extinction of the white rhinoceros or American pika? And do people consider these things valuable even if they will never see a white rhinoceros or a pika in person?

That value — the “existence value”— is one of the ecological costs being calculated by researchers at UC Davis and Fordham University in order to improve the models currently used to calculate climate change damages, what’s known as the social cost of carbon.

The Survivors: Sugar Pine Trees and the Future Forest

November 07, 2019
Planting Genetic Resilience Into Forests in the Face of Climate Change

California’s drought and bark-beetle infestation killed more than 129 million trees between 2012 and 2016 in the Sierra Nevada. But amid the devastation stood some survivors.

Becoming Arizona: Sacramento’s Urban Heat Island Divide

November 05, 2019
Beyond Beautification, Trees Are a Health and Climate Justice Solution

A tree sits in the middle of a big empty lot in South Sacramento. It is huge and leafy, its arms open wide, an arc of green swooping across a hot summer sky. Fenced off in this abandoned car lot, the tree is a bold sign of life in an otherwise barren expanse of dirt and busted concrete. It’s a wonder that it’s still here.

This old lot looms large for Victoria Vasquez. Her dad used to live a half mile from this spot.

New Law Sponsored by UC Will Allow Commercialization of Discoveries in State Parks

October 02, 2019

California Gov. Gavin Newsom today (Oct. 2) signed into law a bill that will create a new way for researchers to commercialize scientific discoveries made at California state parks. 

Authored by Bill Dodd, D-Napa, SB-442 allows the California Department of Parks and Recreation to issue commercialization permits and set commercialization fees that can be used for the protection, conservation and restoration of resources of the state park system. 

Plant Diversity a Casualty of High-Severity Wildfires

October 02, 2019
Extreme Wildfires Are Transforming Forestlands Into Shrublands

Sierra Nevada forests are losing plant diversity due to high-severity fires, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. These fires are turning patches of forest into shrub fields — indefinitely, in some cases.

Forensic Proteomics, a New Tool for Crime Labs and Anthropology

September 09, 2019

DNA evidence has revolutionized forensic science in the past few years, cracking open cold cases and bringing both convictions and exonerations. The same techniques help archaeologists and anthropologists studying remains from ancient peoples or human ancestors. 

But DNA is a relatively fragile molecule that breaks down easily. That’s where proteomics, the new science of analyzing proteins, comes in. By reading the sequence of amino acids from fragments of protein, scientists can work backwards to infer the sequence of DNA that produced the protein. 

The Genetics of Drought Tolerance in Bioenergy Poplar Trees

August 23, 2019

Bioenergy crops are central to climate mitigation strategies. This includes their use in BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) and biomass supplied for heat, power, liquid fuels and in the future, biorefining to chemicals. It has been predicted that bioenergy will be the fastest developing renewable resource over coming decades, but at the same time, land use for bioenergy production can be controversial if it has negative impacts on land for food, or is detrimental to a wide array of ecosystem services.

Compost Key to Sequestering Carbon in the Soil

August 21, 2019
Study Dug Deep to Uncover Which Agricultural Systems Store the Most Carbon

By moving beyond the surface level and literally digging deep, scientists at the University of California, Davis, found that compost is a key to storing carbon in semi-arid cropland soils, a strategy for offsetting CO2 emissions.

Chancellor Backs Climate and Innovation Efforts

August 09, 2019

Chancellor Gary S. May recently signed higher education’s “Climate Emergency Letter” and took up his duties on the National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers.

●︎ Climate Emergency Letter — As of today (Aug. 9), the letter had been signed by 138 institutions representing approximately 2.3 million students, and 41 higher education networks representing nearly 8,300 institutions. The signatories include all 10 UC campuses as well as UC system as a whole.