IoES in the News

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Research Director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities Eric Fournier in UCLA Newsroom: What the wildfires tell us about the shortcomings of California’s electric grid

In addition to the vast destruction they have caused, the wildfires that have engulfed California in recent weeks have laid bare serious concerns about the state’s electric grid.  In an email interview, UCLA’s Eric Fournier explains why the architecture of California’s grid isn’t well suited for such extreme conditions and what it would take to improve it....


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Zifang Zhu in The New York Times: The Air We Breathe

The worst effects of the wildfires are the direct ones: the deaths, the loss of homes and the destruction of natural habitat. But the secondary pollution effects — from the smoke that is clogging the air — are not minor.  Long-term exposure to the tiny particles in polluted air increases the risk of asthma, lung disorders,...


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Daniel Swain in KXAN NBC: ‘Smoke cyclone:’ Airborne ash from California fires creates disturbing satellite image

For the better part of a month, fires from across the western United States have filled the skies with smoke and ash, creating unhealthy air conditions for millions of Americans.  Daniel Swain, a climate scientist, spotted a plume of ash on Wednesday reaching the mid-level of the atmosphere and swirling in a cyclone-like movement above...


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Daniel Swain in Los Angeles Times — A sizzling summer: Hottest August on record in California

In the midst of the state’s most destructive wildfire season, California has garnered another dubious distinction: the hottest August on record in California, according to a report from UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain. The overall record for the hottest month in California was July 2018, although the highest spikes in August 2020 were higher than the highest...


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Pritzker Finalist Clara Pratte in Good News Network: Solar-Powered Panels Pull Water Out of the Air For Navajo Families Who Have None

What if there was a way of pulling vapor from the atmosphere and bringing it through faucets as clean, drinkable water. Harnessing the power of the sun, Zero Mass Water’s Source hydropanels do just that. “We are excited to help shine a light on the potential of Hydropanels to help solve the clean water access...


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Yifang Zhu in The Bakersfield Californian — Los Angeles suffers worst smog in almost 30 years

Lung-damaging ozone pollution in Los Angeles reached its highest levels in a generation and set records in other parts of Southern California during the blistering Labor Day weekend heat wave, air quality readings show.  “The combination of a major wildfire and extreme heat can really send ozone levels through the roof,” said Yifang Zhu, a...


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Daniel Swain in Inside Climate News: A Siege of 80 Large, Uncontained Wildfires Sweeps the Hot, Dry West

As fires spread into Washington, Oregon and Montana, the arrival of the Santa Ana winds means more conflagrations for California. “It’s not just the size of the fires, but the distribution,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of California, Los Angeles. “There are big...


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Daniel Swain in ProPublica: The Climate Crisis Is Happening Right Now. Just Look at California’s Weekend.

This was the weekend that climate change, in California, stopped being about the future. The weekend that the idea that COVID-19 was worse than climate change, or fascism was worse than climate change, disappeared.  UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain broke the fourth wall amid staggering wildfires to voice his feelings on Twitter: “These are getting harder...


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Daniel Swain in Washington Post: Thousands evacuated as ‘once in a generation’ fires burn through Oregon

The Oregon Department of Forestry estimated the Almeda Fire has burned 2,500 to 3,000 acres. As of late Tuesday, the fire was at zero percent containment, according to Jackson County Emergency Management.  Also referred to as the Glendower Fire, the blaze started as a brush fire about 14 miles away around Ashland, Ore., before burning up...


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Daniel Swain in The Weather Channel: California Sweltering in All-Time Record Heat and Wildfire Smoke Now Faces Santa Ana Wind Threat

California’s latest heat wave smashed some all-time records, contributing to another explosion of wildfires that already topped a state record a month before their typical peak time of year. The intensity of the fire thunderstorm’s rising column of air, or updraft, didn’t simply loft ash, but also unusually large fire debris up to about 1 foot...


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Daniel Blumstein’s new book “The Nature of Fear: Survival Lessons from the Wild” — Q&A in Psychology Today

Psychology Today interviews Professor Daniel Blumstein about his groundbreaking new book. Delving into the evolutionary origins and ecological contexts of fear across species, The Nature of Fear considers what we can learn from our fellow animals—from successes and failures. By observing how animals leverage alarm to their advantage, we can develop new strategies for facing risks...


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LENS co-founder Jon Christensen in UCLA Newsroom: Faculty, students co-produce documentary on bipartisan environmental solutions

A new documentary exploring environmental politics, which was researched, reported and produced by UCLA faculty and students in conjunction with the Southern California public media channel KCET, is slated to air in September as part of the locally produced environmental series “Earth Focus.” LENS co-founder Jon Christensen, a UCLA adjunct assistant professor and member of...