Sustainable Systems Analysis Group
INFEWS Publications | in reverse chronological order
Agricultural and health benefits of coal-to-gas fuel switching in the U.S. power sector
Nature Sustainability | January 6, 2020

Between 2005 and 2016, Co-PI Burney estimates that decommissioning of coal-fired units in the U.S. saved roughly 23,000 lives and 329  million bushels of corn and also altered regional atmospheric reflectivity, raising average top of atmosphere instantaneous radiative forcing by 0.50 W m-2.

Shearer et al. 2020

Committed emissions of the U.S. power sector
AGU Advances | September 3, 2020

Although U.S. annual CO2 emissions fell by 24% between 2000 and 2018, committed emissions of the U.S. power sector decreased only 12% over the period. This is due to large changes in the age and composition of the U.S. generating fleet: old coal plants were replaced by brand new gas ones that can be expected to operrate for 30-40 years.

Shearer et al. 2020

Selected Press: EOS, HuffPo
How do non-carbon priorities affect zero-carbon electricity systems?
Applied Energy | May 1, 2020

Project scientist Tarroja analyzes the relationship between in-state freshwater consumption and levelized cost of electricity for four electricity mix scenarios designed to achieve zero-carbon electricity in California by 2045.

Tarroja et al. 2020

Power plants retirements in mitigation scenarios
Environmental Research Letters | May 27, 2020

We show that ambitious climate mitigation scenarios entail drastic, and perhaps un-appreciated, changes in the operating and/or retirement schedules of power infrastructure. For example, in 1.5 or 2°C scenarios, the median age of global coal plants at retirement is <10 years.

Fofrich et al. 2020
Research Brief

Integration of Solid Oxide Steam Electrolyzer System into the UCI Microgrid to Support High Renewable Use
ECS Transactions | May 22, 2020

Graduate student Saeedmanesh and Co-PI Brouwer evaluate the impacts and capabilities of dynamically dispatching Solid Oxide Steam Electrolysis (SOSE) systems to support high penetration of renewable photovoltaic sources in the UCI microgrid.

Diffenbaugh et al. 2020

Dynamic dispatch of solid oxide electrolysis system for high renewable energy penetration in a microgrid
Energy Conversion and Management | January 15, 2020

Graduate student Saeedmanesh and Co-PI Brouwer assess the impacts of increasing deployment of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) on existing energy infrastructure has been investigated in a microgrid, an energy system that, with its constraints, foreshadows the challenges of the evolving electricity network.

Diffenbaugh et al. 2020

Dynamic Behavior of a Solid Oxide Steam Electrolyzer System Using Transient Photovoltaic Generated Power for Renewable Hydrogen Production
J. of Electrochem. Energy Conv. and Storage | April 12, 2019

This study investigates the dynamic behavior of a solid oxide steam electrolyzer (SOSE) system without an external heat source that uses transient photovoltaic (PV) generated power as an input to produce compressed (to 3 MPa) renewable hydrogen to be injected directly into the natural gas network.

Diffenbaugh et al. 2020

Data and analysis toolbox for modeling the nexus of food, energy, and water
Sustainable Cities and Society | May 22, 2020

Former postdoc Sadegh and team present an interactive analysis toolbox, Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water (NeFEW), that synthesizes global data for modeling and analysis of resources and their interdependencies at country-level and for user-specified categories and quantities:
Download NeFEW toolbox

Diffenbaugh et al. 2020

Radiative effects of aerosols may offset the air quality penalty of climate change in China
Nature Climate Change | August 3, 2020

We show that direct radiative effects of short-lived aerosols may substantially offset the "climate penalty" that prior studies have shown (i.e. that future climate change is likely to worsen air quality and thereby human health in most regions by favoring weather conditions that increase concentrations of air pollution).

Diffenbaugh et al. 2020

Agricultural vulnerability to changing snowmelt
Nature Climate Change | April 20, 2020

Former Postdoc Qin (now Prof. Qin!) finds that future changes in the fraction of precipitation falling as snow and the timing of snowmelt jeopardize food production in basins where irrigated agriculture relies heavily on snowmelt runoff. We point out the most at-risk basins and crops worldwide, where adaptation of water management and agricultural systems may be especially critical in a changing climate.

Qin et al. 2020

Ozone and climate impacts on California's key crops
Nature Food | March 16, 2020

Postdoc Hong et al. analyze 35 years of temperature, ozone levels, and crop yield data, and estimate the impacts of warming and ozone pollution on perennial fruits and nuts in California. These crops, which represent ~38% of the state's agriculture by value, suffer damages of about $1 billion per year due to ozone in recent years. With 2°C of warming, almond yields will drop by ~10%.

Hong et al. 2020

Climate adaptation by crop migration
Nature Communications | March 6, 2020

Postdoc Sloat et al. show that shifts in crop areas worldwide 1973-2012 have substantially avoided increases in growing season temperatures that would have otherwise have been experienced by rainfed maize, wheat, rice and soybean. This suggests that crop "migration" has thus far been an important adaptive mechansim.

Sloat et al. 2020

Climate effects on Chinese air pollution deaths
PNAS | August 12, 2019

Postdoc Hong et al demonstrate that future climate change may exacerbate the impacts of Chinese air pollution by increasing the frequency and duration of weather conditions that enhance pollution exposure. Under a scenario that avoids 3°C of mean warming but holds emissions constant, we estimate 12,100 and 8,900 more Chinese will die each year from PM2.5 and ozone exposure, respectively.

Hong et al. 2019

Welfare impacts of global warming on agriculture
American Journal of Agricultural Econ. | August 10, 2019

Co-PI Moore and collaborators show that the welfare consequences of global warming on agriculture are highly asymmetric, with much larger losses at the low end of the yield distribution. This implies that the magnitude and heterogeneity of climate impacts and their welfare effects need for represented in detail in climate projections.

Hong et al. 2019

Committed emissions from existing energy infrastructure jeopardize 1.5°C climate target
Nature | July 1, 2019

Postdoc Tong and coauthors show that, if operated as historically, existing fossil energy infrastructure will emit >650 Gt of CO2, well over the most recent 1.5°C carbon budgets and 2/3 of the remaining 2°C budget. There is thus little or no room for new fossil infrastructure under the targets; rather existing infrastructure must be retired early.

Tong et al. 2019

Selected Press: NPR, NatGeo, LA Times, Reuters, WaPo
Flexibility and intensity of global water use
Nature Sustainability | June 3, 2019

Postdoc Qin and team find that some water uses are more or less flexible than others due to larger curtailment costs or social impacts. We construct and present a new water stress index that integrates water scarcity, flexibility, and variability, and use it to evaluate the most-stressed basins worldwide.

Qin et al. 2019

Selected Press: Nature
Hydrogen production using photovolatics and solid oxide steam electrolyzers
Electrochem. Energy Conversion & Storage | April 12, 2019

Student Saeedmanesh and Co-PI Brouwer present detailed dynamic model results to show that a solid oxide electrolysis system can follow dynamic PV generation on sunny and cloudy days with reasonable efficiency while maintaining the stack temperature gradient below a maximum set point.

Saeedmanesh et al. 2019

Integrating hydrology and economics for sociohydrologic knowledge generation
Water Resources Research | March 12, 2019

Postdoc Levy and a coauthor argue that synthesis across economics and hydrology can help address two pressing sociohydrologic challenges: actionable prediction and the generation of transferable knowledge from place‐based studies.

Muller and Levy, 2019

Spatiotemporal error in rainfall data: Consequences for epidemiologic analysis of waterborne diseases
American Journal of Epidemiology | January 25, 2019

Postdoc Levy and co-authors evaluate the implications of spatiotemporal error in precipitation data on assessing exposures to waterborne disease, and suggest that investigators should pay greater attention to limitations in using spatially heterogeneous environmental data sets to assign exposures in epidemiologic research.

Levy et al. 2019

Climate impacts on beer supply
Nature Plants | October 15, 2018

PI Davis and collaborators show that concurrent drought and heat extremes in the future may cause substantial decreases in barley yields, leading to dramatic regional decreases in beer consumption (e.g., -32%) and increases in beer prices (e.g., +193%) in some years.

Xie et al. 2018

Selected Press: AP, WSJ, WIRED, ArsTechnica, NY Times, SciAm
Net-zero emissions energy systems
Science | June 29, 2018

PI Davis, Co-PI Brouwer, and collaborators review technological opportunities and barriers for eliminating and/or managing difficult-to-decarbonize services, and critical areas for further research, development, demonstration and deployment.

Davis et al. 2018

Selected Press: MIT Tech, InsideClimate, SciAm
Eliminating natural gas at the UC
Nature Climate Change | February 27, 2018

PI Davis, Co-Pi Brouwer, and collaborators evaluate the University Of California’s approach to deep decarbonization, highlighting lessons in efficiency, alternative fuels and electrification. Bending the emissions curve globally requires efforts that blend academic insights with practical solutions.

Victor et al., 2018

Geophysical constraints on reliability of U.S. solar and wind power
Energy & Environmental Science | February 27, 2018

PI Davis and collaborators analyze hourly weather data to show that meeting >80% of U.S. electricity demand with only solar and wind would require days' or weeks' worth of energy storage--even assuming a continental-scale transmission grid.

Shaner et al., 2018

Selected Press: MIT Tech Rev, VICE
New science of climate change impacts on agriculture implies higher social cost of carbon
Nature Communications | November 22, 2017

Co-PI Moore and collaborators use new damage functions based on the current scientific literature to estimate a new Social Cost of Carbon (SCC). Because the latest research suggests far more adverse agricultural impacts, the SCC more than doubles.

Moore et al, 2017

Selected Press: ENN
Quantifying the economic risks of climate change
Nature Climate Change | November 2, 2017

Co-PI Moore and a collaborator review and synthesize the limitations of these damage functions and describe how incorporating impacts, adaptation and vulnerability research advances and empirical findings could substantially improve damage modelling and the robustness of social cost of carbon values produced.

Diaz and Moore, 2017

Selected Press: Business Standard
Economic impacts of climate change on agriculture
Environmental Research Letters | June 13, 2017

Co-PI Moore compares process-based and statistical models of agricultural yields and finds little evidence for differences in yield responses to warming. Rather, there is a consistent and substantial probability of large declines in welfare under 2-3°C of warming even including CO2 fertilization.

Moore et al., 2017

Probabilistic estimates of drought impacts on agricultural production
GRL | August 5, 2017

Student Madadgar, Co-PI AghaKouchak, and PI Davis used a multivaritate probabilistic model, we quantify the average annual yields of major rainfed crops in Australia as a function of precipitation and soil moisture indices during the growing season. In the period 1980-2012, yields were 25–45% lower in dry seasons.

Madadgar et al., 2017

Selected Press: Carbon Brief
Increasing probability of mass mortality during Indian heatwaves
Science Advances | June 7, 2017

Student Mazdiyasni, Co-PI AghaKouchak, and PI Davis show that small increases mean temperatures may lead to big increases in heatwave deaths in India. For example, if summer mean temperatures increase by 0.5 °C, the chances of a heatwave that kills >100 people goes from roughly 1 in every 8 years to 1 in 3 years.

Mazdiyasni et al., 2017

Selected Press: NY Times, Climate Central, SciAm
Ecosystem services mapping for sustainable agricultural water management in California’s Central Valley
Environmental Science & Technology | February 14, 2017

Student Matios and Co-PI Burney estimate water yield and water consumption as functions of land use in Fresno County, California, quantifying the discrepancy between local annual surface water yields and crop needs met by surface water allocations from outside the county and, to a much greater extent, private groundwater irrigation.

Matios and Burney, 2017

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