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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA Awards $700,000 to UC Irvine for Research on Protecting Air Quality in a Changing Climate

Contact Information: 
Michele Huitric (Huitric.michele@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO -Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $701,304 to the University of California, Irvine to help answer the question of how to protect the air we breathe from the impacts of climate change. University researchers will use the funds to study the effects of ammonia and rising global temperatures on secondary organic aerosol formation.

"California has some of the worst air quality in the nation, and the changing climate could exacerbate the problem," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "UC Irvine's research is an important step toward protecting the climate and achieving the state's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions substantially by 2050."

"This grant offers an exciting opportunity to learn about air pollution in the future from both state-of-the-art experiments and from computer modelling techniques" said Donald Dabdub, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC Irvine. "We know that both ammonia and organic compounds will be emitted more strongly in the future and this can bring about new chemical reactions, which increase the burden of particulate matter. We will be able to better quantify the effect of this previously unexplored chemistry at the end of this project."

Research has shown that climate change can affect air quality and impact public health. With the funding, researchers across the country will expand investigations to understand:

Health impacts from smoke due to a rise in wildfires that are increasing as a result of climate change;
Atmospheric changes in air pollution chemistry that are occurring due to climate change;
Potential consequences of increased levels of dust from particle pollution on human health and visibility;
Drought and land-use changes in the western U.S. that may impact the incidence of dust storms; and
Impacts to air quality from increased nitrogen-based fertilizer use.

Nationally, $8.5 million in grants, funded through the agency's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, was awarded to 12 universities for air quality research.

The University of California, Davis-the only other grantee in California-received $790,000 to study air quality, exposure, and health impact outcomes under a range of energy use and emission scenarios.

To learn more about these awards, visit: https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/594/records_per_page/ALL

To learn more about EPA's air research, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/air-research