Atmospheric Science

Ron Cohen talks about the Beacon project

August 26, 2020

In a new video from Ron Cohen, UC Berkeley Professor of Chemistry and Earth and Planetary Sciences. the remarkable change in our atmosphere with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic is explored.  Cohen postulates what the world would be like with fewer CO2 emissions.

The Secret to Renewable Solar Fuels Is an Off-and-On Again Relationship

July 21, 2020

analysis of copper ore

From alum Walter Drisdell's lab at LBL: new research published in the journal ACS Catalysis exams experiments performed vis X-ray spectroscopy on working solar fuel generator prototypes to demonstrate that catalysts made from copper oxide are superior to purely metallic-origin catalysts when it comes to producing ethylene, a two-carbon gas with a huge range of industrial applications – even after there are no detectable oxygen atoms left in the catalyst.

Coronavirus impact: Maps show pollution has dropped in the Bay Area since shelter-in-place orders

April 8, 2020

pollution drops in Bay Area

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- A single image helped alert the world to a once-in-a-lifetime side effect of the COVID-19 crisis. It was a satellite map, showing a dramatic drop in pollution levels over China after the country began to effectively quarantine its population. Shortly afterward Ron Cohen, Professor of Chemistry and of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Berkeley, predicted a similar effect here in the Bay Area.

World air quality is improving as people stay home

March 27, 2020

Bay Area air quality improves as people forced to stay home

Fewer vehicles on the road and the slowing world economy has lead to blue skies over the world including the Bay Area, China, and Italy. Locally, every day since March 14, the EPA Air Quality Index has reported all nine Bay Area counties bathed in green on its color scale, for good quality air. It’s rare to have so many consecutive clean-air days. And last week, air-quality sensors that measure particulate matter showed the lowest average readings of any week so far in 2020 — down 21% in Oakland, 36% in San Jose and 41% in San Francisco from the week before.

New satellite measurements show how polluted Los Angeles’ air really is

November 15, 2019

Ron Cohen

Scientists who scanned the skies above dozens of U.S. cities have made a surprising discovery about the smog that’s suspended over Los Angeles: one of its key ingredients isn’t disappearing as fast as it once did. The finding may help explain why the once-steady improvements in air quality have come close to stalling out here even though nitrogen oxide emissions have continued to decline. It also suggests that the particular chemistry of L.A.'s air may complicate future cleanup efforts. “That’s certainly part of why we’re in a moment in Los Angeles where it’s harder to get the air cleaner,” said Professor Ronald Cohen.

MOF water harvesting technology one of ten innovations that could change the world

April 4, 2019

Testing the water harvester

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has released the results of its first search for the Top Ten Emerging Technologies in Chemistry. Initiated as a special activity in honor of IUPAC’s 100th anniversary this year, the results have been published in the 2019 April-June 2019 issue of Chemistry International. Research from the lab of Omar Yaghi on water harvesting from desert air technology has been featured as one of the top 10.