Antarctic glaciers slide ever more quickly into a warming sea, California withers under severe drought, and projections of Earth’s future climate suggest it’s just a taste of things to come in the decades ahead. Researchers in UC Irvine’s Department of Earth System Science are deployed across the world and across a spectrum of climate related fields, gathering data that bring the emerging picture into increasingly sharpened focus. They’ve imaged rapidly dwindling stores of groundwater around the world through the “eyes” of satellites – and found one of the most threatened groundwater supplies close to home, in California’s Central Valley. They’ve measured declining sea ice in the Arctic, and the destabilization caused by warming waters at the toes of Antarctic glaciers, causing those glaciers to flow at a faster rate from land to ocean.
And with contributions to reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, they’ve revealed that the ravages of a sharply warming world are not comfortably remote, in some hypothetical future, but are happening now: rising sea levels, vanishing glaciers, escalation of extreme weather events. UCI scientists also are working on some of the answers, including a more thorough accounting of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, now and in the foreseeable future, pushing for development of new technologies to combat climate change, and spotlighting agricultural practices that reduce carbon footprints.