Breakfast Lecture Series: Alex Guenther

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 7:30am
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"Do trees pollute the air"
Alex Guenther 
Professor of Earth System Science
Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 7:30am
UCI Student Center, Pacific Ballroom D

Back in 1980, presidential candidate Ronald Reagan caused an uproar when he warned that “approximately 80% of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation.”  Believe it or not, hydrocarbon emissions from trees do play an important role in the complex atmospheric chemistry processes controlling the persistent air pollution problems in southern California. Professor Alex Guenther will share current understanding of trees’ impact on air pollution and will discuss strategies for improving human and ecosystem health and agricultural yields. Will genetically modified plants reduce hydrocarbon emissions and help remove air pollutants? Can we develop an early warning system for ecosystem and crop stress? What are the latest pollution mitigation tools? Come find out! 

Dr. Alex Guenther is an international leader in atmospheric and terrestrial ecosystem research. He developed numerical models that are widely used by the scientific and regulatory communities to simulate biogenic reactive gas and aerosol emissions for air quality and climate modeling.  Throughout his career, he has led more than 40 integrative field studies on six continents in tropical, temperate, and boreal ecosystems to provide observations to advance understanding of biogenic emissions and their role in air quality and climate. Professor Guenther was a contributing author for the Third and Fourth Assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Prior to joining UCI in 2015, he was at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) where he promoted advancements in understanding the role of ecosystem-atmosphere interactions in climate change. Before his role at PNNL, Professor Guenther was Senior Scientist and Section Head at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) where he was responsible for systematic advancement of groundbreaking measurements and modeling of biogenic emissions and their impact on the earth system. This led to his development of the Model of Emissions of Gases and Aerosols from Nature, or MEGAN, a model that is a critical component of many of the climate and air quality models used by researchers today.  In addition to its wide use in research, MEGAN is also an essential tool used by regulatory agencies including the California Air Resources Board and the US Environmental Protection Agency.