Sustainable Systems Analysis Group
Integrated Analyses of Food-Energy-Water Systems

Although there are numerous reviews and commentaries highlighting the interactions, trade-offs, and synergies of food, water, and energy resources, there is a need for more and more complete quantitative assessments. We are thus conducting analyses that entail all three systems at large (often global) scales.

Recent and pending publications:

Hong et al. 2020
Hong et al., "Impacts of ozone and climate change on yields of perennial crops in California,"
Nature Food | March 16, 2020
By analyzing 35 years of temperature, ozone levels, and crop yield data, we 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.
Tong et al. 2019
Tong et al., "Committed emissions from existing energy infrastructure jeopardize 1.5°C climate target,"
Nature | July 1, 2019
If operated as historically, existing and proposed energy infrastrcuture commit us to ~850 Gt of future CO2 emissions, which is more than the entire carbon budget to limit mean warming to 1.5°C with 50-66% probability, and perhaps two-thirds of the budget required to similarly limit warming to below 2°C.
Qin et al. 2019
Qin et al., "Flexibility,intensity, and vulnerability of global water use,"
Nature Sustainability | June 3, 2019
We quantify global water uses and develop a metric for vulnerability related to the flexibility of these uses. We also show the large range of water use intensity at the level of major basins.
Energy Systems Analysis

Deep decarbonization of electricity and fuels is central to climate goals in California and around the world. As part of our INFEWS, we are therefore researching the technological and resource challenges and cost-effective solutions for such radical decarbonization.

Recent and pending publications:

Fofrich et al. 2020
Fofrich et al., "Early retirement of power plants in climate mitigation scenarios,"
Environmental Research Letters | May 27, 2020
Graduate Researcher Fofrich, PI Davis, and collaborators 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.
Davis et al. 2018
Davis et al., "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.
Saeedmanesh et al. 2019
Saeedmanesh et al., "Dynamic behavior of a solid oxide steam electrolyzer system using transient photovoltaic generated power for renewable hydrogen production,"
Electrochem. Energy Conversion &l 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.
Water Management

A substantial amount of our work is focused on the competing demands for its water supplies in the recent past and future. There are a number of political, technological, and economic challenges associated with California water management in particular, and the projects we've undertaken are specifically designed to provide policy-relevant information that may be helpful.

Recent and pending publications:

Qin et al. 2020
Qin et al., "Agricultural risks from changing snowmelt,"
Nature Climate Chnage | April 20, 2020
Led by Postdoc Qin, PI Davis, Co-PI AghaKouchak and collaborators assess 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 identify the most at-risk basins and crops worldwide, where adaptation of water management and agricultural systems may be especially critical in a changing climate.

Levy et al., "Remote sensing of California groundwater extraction," | in review

Gonzales et al., "Adaptive benefits of agricultural water markets," | in review