News & Announcements (2014)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Today’s climate models predict a 50 percent increase in lightning strikes across the United States during this century as a result of warming temperatures associated with climate change.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

An ambitious plan to use the UC Natural Reserve System (NRS) to detect and forecast the ecological impacts of climate change in California has received a $1.9 million research award. The proposal will establish a UC-wide Institute for the Study of Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts (ISEECI). The award is the largest of the new President’s Research Catalyst Awards announced December 10.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Anthony Barnosky's new book, Dodging Extinction (UC Press), takes a close look at how our choices — what we eat, how we generate our energy, how we make money — affect the world around us, and how we can change our habits to prevent the calamity of a sixth global extinction like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Society will become increasingly vulnerable to catastrophic losses from wildfire unless it changes its fundamental approach from fighting fire to coexisting with it as a natural process, new UC Berkeley-led Nature article says.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Campanile has been home for about 100 years to more than 20 tons of fossils from California tar pits. Storage for some of the dusty bones will be updated thanks to a much-needed grant.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ecoengine programmer Yugarshi Mondal attended the Fourth Annual Climate Informatics Conference at NCAR on September 25th & 26th. The conference, which included invited speakers, poster sessions, breakout networking groups to encourage collaboration, and an NSF representative who spoke about funding, allowed for computer and climate scientists to share ideas and build collaborations.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Yosemite National Park would be something quite different were it not for UC Berkeley and its visionary scientists, alumni and leaders. That’s the blue-and-gold current flowing through Yosemite: A Storied Landscape, a just-published e-book that brings to vivid life the first national park in celebration of its 150th birthday.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

UC Berkeley professor Scott Stephens lost 400 research sites in last year’s Sierra Nevada Rim Fire, but the harm to the forest ecosystem is incalculable. Now fires are raging again in Yosemite. Stephens offered advice on how to reduce future catastrophes, in a NewsCenter story that first ran in October 2013; it is reposted here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A new study by biologists at Stanford University and UC Berkeley highlights the dramatic hit on evolutionary diversity when forests are transformed into agricultural lands. The findings point to using diversified farming as a way to preserve the evolutionary history embodied in wildlife.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

As the U.S. Forest Service finalizes plans to restore forests torched in last year’s Yosemite-area Rim Fire—the third largest in state history—conservationists are worried that the scheme skimps on environmental protection. Also concerned is one of the state’s top forestry experts, a UC Berkeley professor who warns that replanting trees the traditional way will simply sow the seeds for the next conflagration.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The White House has given a public nod to a ground-breaking UC Berkeley air-monitoring project and its new collaboration with a Colorado public media platform, which aims to build a citizen-science story-corps to help monitor carbon emissions in the Bay Area.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Symmetry magazine profiles John Harte, professor of energy and resources, who applies his physics background to deep questions of ecology and work to save the planet.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

In a Congressional hearing July 29, Congressman Henry Waxman had a rare chance to speak to all five sitting members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concerning climate change. He urged them to read a recent UC Berkeley report on FERC’s authority to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and placed the report into the Congressional Record.

Friday, July 25, 2014

UC Berkeley biologist Anthony Barnosky’s 2012 Nature paper warning of an impending tipping point in Earth’s climate resonated with California Governor Jerry Brown, who called Barnosky out of the blue to ask his help in spreading the message to politicians and policy makers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

UC Berkeley’s Anthony Barnosky and Stanford's Elizabeth Hadly, are featured in Nature for their work on the 30-page statement, “Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century.”

Friday, July 18, 2014

UC Berkeley’s Brent Mishler and Australian colleagues have created a model of biodiversity that takes into account both the number and distribution of species and their evolutionary relationships in order to identify lineages that need preservation, in particular rare endemics.

Monday, July 7, 2014

We are nearing launch of the new VTM website, in which the maps, plots, and photograph portions of the VTM collection are united and powered by HOLOS, open data, and sharing. The journey from paper collection to digital data has been a long one, with several cases of almost accidental and purposeful destruction. As such it is a cautionary tale about the importance of rescued and shared historical data in ecological and geographical analysis.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Five faculty researchers from diverse departments have been selected as the first recipients of support from the new Rose Hills Innovator Program at UC Berkeley. Established this spring, the program assists distinguished early-career faculty in developing innovative research programs in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

University of California, Berkeley, geologist William Dietrich pioneered the application of airborne LIDAR – light detection and ranging – to map mountainous terrain, stripping away the vegetation to see the underlying ground surface. But that didn’t take him deep enough.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Wildfires across the western United States have been getting bigger and more frequent over the last 30 years – a trend that could continue as climate change causes temperatures to rise and drought to become more severe in the coming decades, according to new research. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences team, led by UC Berkeley atmospheric scientist Inez Fung, partnered with the U.K. Royal Society, led by University of Cambridge paleoclimatologist Eric Wolff, to release the publication, “Climate Change: Evidence and Causes.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Peru’s treasured Manu National Park is the world’s top biodiversity hotspot for reptiles and amphibians, according to a new survey published last week by biologists from the University of California, Berkeley, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (SIU-Carbondale) and Illinois Wesleyan University.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tipping points are a fact of life. They can be total surprises, such as bombing that final or discovering that inspirational teacher. Or they can be events you anticipate intellectually but still throw you when they actually happen, such as a child’s birth or a loved one’s death. Either way, you cross a threshold into a new normal.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

As 2013 came to a close, the media dutifully reported that the year had been the driest in California since records began to be kept in the 1840s. UC Berkeley paleoclimatologist B. Lynn Ingram didn’t think the news stories captured the seriousness of the situation.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Congratulations to Rob Cuthrell for receiving an NSF SEES Fellow Award. His proposed work will (1) incorporate archaeological biological data into the "Predictive Biosystems Informatics Engine," an integrative database that synthesizes ecological modeling, ecosystems dynamics and human-environmental interactions; (2) conduct integrative historical ecological research on indigenous resource use and TREM practices in California; and (3) bring together multiple stakeholders (public agencies, researchers and descendent communities) to develop, implement, and evaluate the sustainability implications of TREM-based management of California public lands. The work concentrates on the land in the greater San Francisco Bay Area of California.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The “critical zone” is a newfangled name for earth—not the planet, the substance. It’s the region where bedrock, water, air and life interact to create soil, where springs arise and turn to rivers, where plants send roots and transpire moisture into the air. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

UC Berkeley scientists will receive $4,900,000 over the next five years to study the nearly 10,000 square kilometer Eel River watershed in Northern California and how its vegetation, geology and topography affect water flow all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The region between the top of the forest canopy and the base of weathered rock: our living environment and Earth's critical zone. To provide a deeper understanding of that critical zone, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected sites for four new critical zone observatories (CZOs).

Monday, January 13, 2014

For many users and advocates of marijuana, the boom in the West Coast growing industry may be all good and groovy. But in California, critics say the recent explosion of the marijuana industry along the state's North Coast — a region called the "emerald triangle" — could put a permanent buzz kill on struggling salmon populations...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Jepson Herbarium at UC Berkeley has a big mission: understanding and protecting California’s flora. Given that the state is home to thousands of native plants, nearly 1,500 of which can be found only here, that’s a lot of work for a lot of people with a lot of specialized knowledge. So the Jepson Herbarium has done what comes naturally in order to ensure it will always have the well-trained plant-lovers it needs.

Monday, January 6, 2014

According to a new study by UC Berkeley researchers, population-dense cities contribute less greenhouse-gas emissions per person than other areas of the country, but these cities’ extensive suburbs essentially wipe out the climate benefits.