UC Merced

UC Climate-Change Research is One Focus of Global Summit, New Reports

California aims to lead the nation — and the globe — in climate change research, policy and action — in large part through climate-focused research conducted at University of California campuses and labs.

Some of that research, including from UC Merced, was on display this week as climate-change scientists, policymakers and trailblazers from around the globe gathered in San Francisco for the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit.

UC Merced School of Engineering professors Joshua Viers, LeRoy Westerling and Josué Medellín-Azuara and some of their graduate students were there in support of their research, which is also recently highlighted in several prominent reports.

The professors and second-year graduate student Vicky Espinoza helped write the San Joaquin Valley section of the Fourth California Climate Change Assessment. The Assessment supports California’s continued leadership on actions to address climate change and safeguard the state’s people, economy and resources by providing tools for decision making and supporting these decisions with sound science.

This compilation of original climate research includes 44 technical reports and 13 summary reports on climate-change impacts to help ready the state for a future punctuated by severe wildfires, more frequent and longer droughts, rising sea levels, increased flooding, coastal erosion and extreme heat events.

The California-focused Assessment was featured prominently at the global summit, which brought together state and local governments, businesses and citizens from around the world to showcase climate action taking place in support of the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement. The agreement, signed by 175 countries, pledges to work toward keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, a temperature shift that could lead to severe consequences.

Summit participants discussed the latest science documenting climate change’s effects, including historic droughts, devastating wildfires, increasing frequency of torrential storms, extreme heat, the death of millions of trees, billions of dollars in property damage, and threats to human health and food supplies, and how communities can take the most urgent actions, such as reducing emissions and achieving a carbon-neutral global economy.

Environmental Systems graduate student Espinoza received a special honor, as she was selected as a finalist for the ImagineH2O fellowship for innovation in California water-energy systems as part of the Water Pavilion segment of the Global Climate Summit.

“Vicky has identified a technologically innovative approach to suggest where agricultural production can optimally persist to meet water availability constraints and minimize local socioeconomic impacts,” Viers wrote in his nomination.

Espinoza said she aims to understand the full implications of the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, including its effects on the San Joaquin Valley’s irrigated lands and how proposed land-use changes will affect already socioeconomically vulnerable communities within the region.

“My research is transdisciplinary in that it seeks to improve regional water and economic security for disadvantaged communities through the use of geospatial technology and informatics by using new, deep-structured learning techniques on heterogeneous data,” she said. “This research, now in its formative stages, will provide insight into sustaining California’s food-energy-water sector and into innovative approaches to policy and technology in California and beyond.”

Upcoming Conference Planned for Women Entrepreneurs

Everyone in the community is invited to "The Woman Entrepreneur – A Conference to Explore Entrepreneurship for Women," a free event designed to help women at UC Merced and in the local community see the benefits of entrepreneurship.

The conference will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 18 at The Multicultural Arts Center, 645 W. Main St., Merced. Registration starts at 10:30 a.m.

The conference includes talks from Jennifer Lopez, CEO of Valley Innovators, and Glenda Humiston, vice president of the UC's division of Agriculture and Natural Resources; entrepreneurial exercises with UC Merced faculty member Dawn Trook; breakout sessions with local entrepreneurs; and more.

For more information, contact Stephanie Butticci at sbutticci@ucmerced.edu or call 209-228-4371

UC Merced Connect is a collection of news items written by the campus’s Public Relations team. To contact the team, email PR@ucmerced.edu.