Strengthening Climate Resilience

Back Forty: Hard truths about California’s water future

Last month, Jay Lund, a Distinguished Professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis, wrapped up a lecture on California’s drought with a slide titled “Resistance is Futile.” It included a list of his predictions about the state’s water crisis, some of which bordered on apocalyptic. As climate change fuels extreme drought, heat and flooding, Lund explained, some of California’s native species will become unsustainable in the wild. Farmers, government agencies and environmental groups will continue to fight over dwindling water supplies.

Keith Bein: Chasing Wildfire

Bein is an associate professional researcher at UC Davis’ Air Quality Research Center. His work is helping us better understand the impacts of wildfire smoke on air quality and health. When a megafire takes hold in California, he loads up his mobile research lab and heads to the smoke, entering what can be at times the planet’s worst air quality, so he can sample it.

How Mansions Can Intensify Wildfires

Michele Barbato, a professor of structural engineering and structural mechanics at the University of California at Davis, said the size of large suburban dwellings like the Coronado Pointe homes likely contributed to the extent of the destruction in climate-driven blazes.

“Fungi to save the world”

Mycelium, the white filament-like root structure of mushrooms, might be an important building block of a more sustainable world. By growing mycelium with a biomass—anything from coffee grounds to leftover agricultural waste—researchers at UC Davis are creating sustainable structures that can be turned into everything from biodegradable plastics and circuit boards to filters that remove harmful antibiotic and pesticide residues from water.

Agriculture Goes Digital

Irrigating an entire orchard or vineyard with the same level of water and nutrients may make some plants excel at producing nuts or fruit, while others might be getting more than they need. Not knowing this can lead to disappointing crop yields, wasted water, high costs and long-term damage to both the plants and the environment—all of which can devastate a grower.

Paving the Way to Zero Emissions from Cement

In a new perspective article for the journal One Earth, Sabbie Miller, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis, Professor John Harvey, director of the Pavement Research Center at UC Davis and colleagues at ETH Zurich and Imperial College London break down the greenhouse emissions challenges facing the cement industry and present a strategy to get to zero emissions.

UC Davis to Lead Groundwater and Irrigated Agriculture Sustainability Study

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, have been awarded a $10 million grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to find ways to sustain irrigated agriculture while improving groundwater quantity and quality in the Southwest under a changing climate.