Atmospheric Science

Kristie Boering and Whendee Silver elected American Geophysical Union Fellows

September 28, 2021

Professors Kristie Boering and Whendee Silver

Professors Kristie Boering and Whendee Silver. Photos courtesy UC Berkeley.

The College of Chemistry is delighted to announce that UC Berkeley faculty members Kristie A. Boering (Professor of Chemistry and of Earth and...

Liquid Sunlight: The Evolution of Photosynthetic Biohybrids

August 23, 2021

Energy innovation utilizing carbon dioxide, air, and water

This is an excerpt of an article in Nano Letters by Peidong Yang, S.K. and Angela Chan Distinguished Professor of...

Alumna Susan Solomon joins Pontifical Academy of Science

August 2, 2021

Susan Solomon

Photo of Professor Solomon courtesy MIT.

The Holy Father has appointed as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) Susan Solomon (Ph.D. '81, Chem), the Lee and Geraldine...

With drop in LA’s vehicular aerosol pollution, plants emerge as major source

March 23, 2021

Mexican palms

Mexican fan palms, native to the deserts of northwestern Mexico, are a widely-planted ornamental throughout the Los Angeles basin and are contributing substantially to the organic aerosol pollution in the area, according to a UC Berkeley study. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

California’s restrictions on vehicle emissions have been so effective that in...

Drop in CO2 emissions during pandemic previews world of electric vehicles

November 10, 2020

In the six weeks after the San Francisco Bay Area instituted the nation’s first shelter-in-place mandate in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic, regional carbon dioxide emissions dropped by 25%, almost all of it due to a nearly 50% drop in road traffic, according to new study from the University of California, Berkeley.

Though emissions have steadily increased since then, the dramatic response to a sharp cut-off in vehicular fossil fuel burning shows how effectively a move toward broad use of electric-powered vehicles would reduce the major greenhouse gas responsible for...

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.