NOTE: All lectures start at 4pm EST and will be in Room U113 in the Minerals and Materials Engineering Building (M&M) at Michigan Tech and accessible via Zoom.
Scroll down to access recordings of events earlier this Fall.
Previously Recorded Events
Recording Passcode: 9&21%p=U
"Understanding the Impact of Two Important Reactive Nitrogen Species on Air Quality"
Reactive nitrogen species can contribute to poor air quality, either directly, or
as precursors to other pollutants, such as particulate matter and ozone. One reactive
nitrogen species of particular importance is nitrous acid (HONO). HONO in the atmosphere
can form Hydroxyl radicals (OH). As such, HONO can have a large influence on the oxidation
capacity of the atmosphere. However, not all sources of HONO are fully understood
and it can be a challenging species to measure. Here I will discuss some recent research
on primary and secondary sources of HONO and their impact on the atmosphere.
This talk will also include a discussion of another important nitrogen species - nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The main source of NO2 is from the burning of fossil fuels, for example, road transport and power stations. When the Covid-19 pandemic started many countries introduced lockdowns to control the spread of the virus. This led to a decrease in vehicles on the road and a reduction in NO2 concentrations in many places. We will take a look at the impact of these lockdowns on air quality and consider what the main sources of air pollution may be in the future with fewer combustion engines and more electric cars on the road.
The Richard E. Honrath Memorial Lecture is a Joint EPSSI/Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar honoring the memory of Richard E. Honrath Jr., who was a faculty member in the Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering and Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences Departments. Professor Honrath was a co-founder of Michigan Tech's Atmospheric Sciences Doctoral Degree Program. He died tragically in a kayaking accident in April 2009.
Recording Passcode: 2!X@5y!s
"Let It Slide: Characterization of Slip Behavior for Volcanic Landslides"
Massive collapse of volcanic flanks is among the largest mass-wasting events on the planet and can evolve into energetic lateral blasts and spawn dangerous and destructive tsunami waves in island settings. Despite this hazard, the processes leading or aggravating the risk of flank collapse remain poorly understood. All volcanoes behave differently and the reasons behind initiation and persistence or arrest of flank collapse need to be explored and modeled accurately for a wide range of volcanoes affected by distinct flank processes. Here, we explore slip behavior and possible triggers of volcanic flank motion at two ocean island volcanoes: Kīlauea (HI) and Anak Krakatau (Indonesia), as well as at Pacaya Volcano (Guatemala), using a combination of satellite geodesy and modeling.
Recording Passcode: .V2Tdw!k
"Impacts of Irrigation, Agriculture, and Urbanization on Regional Climate and Air Quality"
Agricultural irrigation and urbanization are two different types of land uses. As global warming continues, while irrigation is expected to play an increasingly important role in crop production in the U.S. and many parts of the world, urbanization is likely to slow down and/or grow with more green space and less emissions to mitigate the effects of urban heat and air pollution. In this talk, I will present the progress that my team (in collaboration with others) has made in quantifying and understanding the impacts of irrigation and urbanization on regional climate and air quality in China and U.S. I will show the challenges of resolving and predicting neighborhood vulnerability to urban heat and air pollution, as well as the critical importance of the crop land emissions in regional air quality management. I will conclude that smart irrigation has compelling benefits for agriculture and urbanization, and recommend the smart-and-connected community science engagement (enabled in part by the new technology and low-cost sensors) as a key pathway to achieve smart irrigation.
“Climate Change, Drought and Global Aridification: Understanding Confidence”
This talk focuses on one of the sharpest edges of the growing global climate crisis: hydrologic extremes and water security. Special attention will be given to understanding how to assess and assign confidence estimates to projections of future change.
Overpeck has written 220 published works on climate and the environmental sciences. He served as Working Group I coordinating lead author for the Nobel Prize–winning IPCC Fourth Assessment (2007), and also as Working Group II lead author for the IPCC Fifth Assessment (2014).
Overpeck has carried out climate research programs on six continents, focused on understanding drought and megadrought dynamics (and risk) the world over, and has also served as the lead investigator of Climate Assessment for the Southwest and the SW Climate Science Center — two major programs focused on regional climate adaptation. He has appeared and testified before Congress multiple times, is a Fellow of AGU and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and tweets about environmental and climate-related issues @GreatLakesPeck.
Recording Passcode: k3Yw0gD=
"Eurasian Snow Cover Variability Links with Stratosphere-Troposphere Coupling and its impacts on Eastern US Weather"
Observed fall Eurasian snow cover extent (SCE) anomalies were first linked with variability in the North Atlantic/Arctic Oscillation (N/AO) where above normal SCE was related to colder temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere continents. Subsequent studies demonstrated that above normal SCE favored tropospheric precursors to sudden stratospheric warming (SSWs) and subsequent tropospheric negative N/AO events. However, the relationship has weakened over the past decade in the observations and is weak to absent in most modelling studies complicating our understanding of snow climate coupling.
In a more recent study, we showed that Eurasian SCE is better linked to a lesser-known stratospheric polar vortex (SPV) disruption that involves wave reflection and stretching of the SPV that is related to ridging/high pressure coupled with above normal temperatures across Alaska and cold to even extreme cold across parts of Asia and North America east of the Rockies. Using both observational analysis and novel numerical modeling experiments, we showed that autumn SCE and Arctic sea ice trends can force observed increasing trends in SPV stretching and surface impacts. Our analysis provides a dynamical link between rapid Arctic change and extreme winter weather across large regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Given the link between SCE and SPV variability, SCE could be utilized in subseasonal to seasonal prediction in the winter months.
Recording Passcode: Rja9kT2=
"Lunar In-Situ Resource Utilization to Unlock the Solar System"
After the last astronauts left the lunar surface in 1972, many people have dreamt of returning. After many robotic missions and learning that the Moon and Mars both contain large amounts of water there is a large international interest in returning sustainably with humans to the surface of the Moon. China landed the first-ever lander and rover on the far side of the Moon and many other surface missions from NASA and other agencies, companies, and countries are planned. At the same time, many new commercial rockets are driving down launch cost/kg and are increasing payload capacity as well as launch frequency. The first commercial astronauts were launched on commercial rockets. All these changes are leading up to permanent human presence on the Moon and expeditions to Mars in the near future. The question is what payload to transport on those rockets to create sustainable space exploration and develop a thriving space economy while opening up the solar system and bringing the unlimited energy and resources of space into the economic sphere of Earth.
My work in the Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab (PSTDL, or Huskyworks) has focused on understanding and developing techniques and robotic tools for those first steps on other planetary surfaces to use local resources to start building infrastructure and extracting volatiles and minerals to create useful products such as rocket propellant and construction materials. It is now time to take the next step and develop research into operating under lunar and Mars conditions for long-duration mining and construction robotic missions with minimal supervision so we can build the space economy, explore the rest of the solar system sustainably and access the unlimited energy and materials for benefit of everyone on Earth.