Awardee: Bowen Wang
Bio: Bowen is a third-year undergraduate student with majors in Climate Science and Geography. He has a wide interest in both the physical and social impacts of anthropogenic climate change, particularly in droughts, floods, and wildfires in the Western US and tropical cyclones, and he likes to develop and run models to represent these processes. He works at the UCLA Center of Climate Science as a research assistant and serves as the president of the undergraduate Geography Association at UCLA.
Invasion by annual grasses poses a serious threat to native vegetation in California and in some cases has shaped California’s vegetation landscape through its interaction with wildfires. This study aims to use WRF-Fire, a dynamical, computationally intensive model, to investigate how shifts in Southern Californian vegetation, for example from native species to invasive grasses, should affect wildfire behavior in current and future climate. We will seek to understand how altering fuel characteristics would change the spread, duration, and intensity of the 2013 Mountain Fire on Mt. San Jacinto in the San Bernadino National Forest in Riverside County, CA.