Accomplishments

photo of researchers, photo credit UC Davis Photos

ABUNDANCE OF EXPERTS IN AIR QUALITY

UC Davis has one of the largest concentrations of faculty with air pollution expertise at any one university in the U.S. Over 70 faculty are involved in air quality research and affiliated with the Air Quality Research Center at UC Davis. Existing laboratory facilities, ongoing research projects, collaborative relationships among faculty and staff, and coordination with other environmentally-oriented centers and departments on campus provide the UC Davis AQRC with the expertise to tackle the multidisciplinary nature of air quality problems.

ONE OF FIVE PARTICULATE MATTER RESEARCH CENTERS IN THE U.S.

A multidisciplinary team of over twenty faculty, staff and students work in the EPA-funded San Joaquin Valley Aerosol Health Effects Center (SAHERC). SAHERC researchers are improving our understanding of the toxicity to humans of atmospheric particles through a combination of field measurements, field animal exposures, laboratory research and numerical modeling. Researchers from Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, Land, Air and Water Resources, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Applied Sciences, Chemistry, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine work together on the challenges related to the health effects of particles in the atmosphere.

FIRST SOURCE ORIENTED PARTICULATE TOXICITY STUDIES

Under a grant from the California Air Resources Board in 2007, a team of AQRC researchers began work on linking the toxicity of ambient aerosols (particles and gases) to emission sources. This will provide a key connection between the human toxicity of ambient particles and the sources that emit them. Other researchers have been investigating the toxicity of emissions from individual sources, without considering the substantial mixing and chemical processing that occurs in the atmosphere. An urban area hosts a range of emissions sources, including cars, trucks, power plants, dust, and biomass burning, that mix in the atmosphere and are photochemically processed. Thus, humans typically breathe this chemically processed mixture of air emissions from multiple sources.

FIRST WEB-BASED AEROSOL THERMODYNAMICS MODEL FOR CLIMATE STUDIES

A recent grant from NOAA in July 2007 supports researchers to help provide the only gas/aerosol partitioning model for atmospheric science to be freely accessible via the web for interactive use by climate scientists. Aerosols are a key uncertainty in climate change, according to a report from the UNFCCC in 2006. This grant allows improvement of the treatment of aerosols and their effects in global climate and other models, by using web-based tools incorporating state-of-the-art thermodynamic models of gas/aerosol partitioning and aerosol water uptake.

FIRST GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS INVENTORY FOR UC DAVIS

The first greenhouse gas emissions inventory for UC Davis was jointly sponsored by EH&S within campus operations and by the Air Quality Research Center. The project was conducted from April 2006 to March 2007. The tally for 2005 emissions was certified by an independent reviewer in March 2007, and included UC Davis’s nearly 1,200 buildings, approximately 80 emergency generators, 716 cars and trucks, and 52 buses, and significant off-campus facilities, including the Medical Center in Sacramento and the Bodega Marine Laboratory. The University of California Davis was the third campus in the UC system to join the California Climate Action Registry in 2005.

FIRST PHD TRAINING GRANT IN THE UC SYSTEM ON AIR QUALITY

Atmospheric Aerosols and Health Program supports upwards of 20 PhD students per year at UC Davis and Merced. Helps mentor PhD students throughout their research. Teaches PhD students how to translate their research into policy.

PROXIMITY TO STATE CAPITOL

UC Davis’s close proximity to Sacramento and San Francisco has afforded researchers and faculty the opportunity to develop working relationships with federal, state and local environmental and air pollution agencies over a long period of time. Thus, the AQRC supplies a substantial network of researchers, a technical knowledge base and a general understanding of stakeholder perspectives.

RESEARCH PROJECTS

The Center currently hosts projects with funding totaling about $10M/yr for multi-collaborator research. UC Davis faculty host a total of about $50M/yr of air quality and climate research across campus, about 16% of the total $783M/yr in research funding on campus.