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Lorena Anderson

Senate Confirms Berhe as Federal Office of Science Director

The U.S. Senate today confirmed UC Merced Professor Asmeret Asefaw Berhe to be the new director of the Office of Science in the federal Department of Energy.

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the lead federal agency supporting fundamental scientific research for energy, and the nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences.

Last Year’s Drought Cost Ag Industry More Than $1 Billion, Thousands of Jobs, New Analysis Shows

The 2021 drought directly cost the California agriculture sector about $1.1 billion and nearly 8,750 full- and part-time jobs, according to estimates in a new analysis led by UC Merced researchers.

Once the effects on other economic sectors are considered, total impacts are estimated at $1.7 billion and 14,634 full- and part-time jobs lost.

Hotter, Drier Nights Mean More Runaway Fires

Thanks to the warming climate, the potential for more severe nighttime wildfires is increasing, and warmer nights mean firefighters will not be able to rely on cooler temperatures to help them get a handle on fires, a new study shows.

Forty years ago, cool, moist nights regularly provided relief to firefighters, and “flammable nights” that facilitated fire activity were rare. Now, because of climate change and warmer overnight temperatures, there are 11 more flammable nights every year in the U.S. West — a 45 percent spike, the team found.

Study Shows Climate-Driven Forest Fires on the Rise

An upside of the increase in forest fires in the West is that they reduce the amount of fuel available for other burns. That might provide a buffering effect on western fires for the next few decades, but the threat of climate-driven forest fires is not diminishing, a new study shows.

Without substantial changes in how people interact with wildfire in the western U.S., climate change will increasingly put people in harm’s way as fires become larger and more severe.

NSF Grant to Help Grad Students Find Solutions to Environmental Challenges

Graduate students and a convergence of physics, engineering and environmental science could result in not only the next generation of solutions to pressing environmental challenges, but a new group of diverse and globally competitive nano-engineers, as well.

A nearly $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will train about 200 graduate students over the next five years as they learn and work to develop nano-sensors to better manage resources.

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