UC Green

By University of California | Blue + Gold = Green. The University of California is devoted to healthy people and a healthy planet. Read about our latest discoveries in sustainability, green living and the future made bold.

The mission to capture storms’ water before it flows away

Image 1of/3<p>Caption<p>Close<p>WATSONVILLE — With winter rains filling California rivers and reservoirs in a dramatic display of drought-ending bluster, the …

Water

Stressed out by the news? Nature videos will make you happier

<b>Being out in wild nature has been shown to reduce stress and lift our spirits. But does watching nature documentaries have a similar effect? A study from UC Berkeley and BBC Earth suggests so.</b><p>UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner teamed up with BBC Earth to explore the connection between nature …

Psychology

Why are pandas black and white? UC Davis scientists have the answer

Quick summary• Giant pandas are black and white to hide and communicate<br>• White markings help pandas hide in the snow; black limbs provide camouflage in shady forests<br>• Darkness around the eyes and ears sends a warning signal to predators<br>• Dark eye patches also help pandas recognize each other<p><b>The scientists</b> …

Biology

Never-before-seen views of elk herds on an incredible journey

<b>A new film produced by a UC Berkeley professor takes viewers on an incredible journey with elk herds on their migration from Wyoming’s ranch lands to Yellowstone’s high-alpine meadows.</b><p>The film, "Elk River," is directed by filmmaker Jenny Nichols and Joe Riis and produced by Berkeley’s Arthur …

National Parks

New Projects to Make Geothermal Energy More Economically Attractive | Berkeley Lab

Berkeley Lab scientists will work at The Geysers, the world’s largest geothermal field, located in northern California, on two projects aimed at …

Renewable Energy

The First-Ever Roddenberry Prize Awards Companies Pushing Us Toward A Star Trek Future

The winner, Opus 12, is converting CO2 emissions into jet fuel.<p>The world would be a better place if it looked like <i>Star Trek</i>, still one of the most progressive, utopian TV shows ever made. Race and gender would be irrelevant. Religious conflict would be a thing of the past. Science and rational …

Science Fiction

'Near-perfect' broadband absorber invented

<b>Transparent window coatings that keep buildings and cars cool on sunny days. Devices that could more than triple solar cell efficiencies. Thin, lightweight shields that block thermal detection.</b><p>These are potential applications for a thin, flexible, light-absorbing material developed by engineers at …

As 3-D printing grows, so does need to reclaim plastic waste

<b>UC Berkeley is a leader in 3-D printing. From creating a prosthetic hand for an 8-year-old girl to a “smart cap” that senses spoiled food to large-scale cement buildings, engineers and designers on campus are pushing the technology to the limits, using it in ways never seen before.</b><p>The technology …

Canadian glaciers now major contributor to sea level change

<b>Ice loss from Canada’s Arctic glaciers has transformed them into a major contributor to sea level change, new research by University of California, Irvine glaciologists has found.</b><p>From 2005 to 2015, surface melt off ice caps and glaciers of the Queen Elizabeth Islands grew by an astonishing 900 …

Global Warming

Advanced data would improve how California manages water

Few people realize how outdated our systems for water information are. Because of data limitations, real-time, transparent decisions about drought …

Water

A computer program that learns how to save fuel

A piece of artificial intelligence that can draw on past experience<p>FROM avoiding jaywalkers to emergency braking to eventually, perhaps, chauffeuring …

Artificial Intelligence

Global warming hiatus disproved — again

<b>A controversial paper published two years ago that concluded there was no detectable slowdown in ocean warming over the previous 15 years — widely known as the “global warming hiatus” — has now been confirmed using independent data in research led by researchers from UC Berkeley and Berkeley Earth,</b> …

Learning to live without plastic

<b>Tiffany Ma couldn’t brush her teeth. She couldn’t pour her cereal. Or even check her email. Well, she could. But she promised she wouldn’t.</b><p>She was taking a UC Berkeley course called “Objects and Commodities,” and she and her classmates were embarking on a lofty challenge: Don’t use anything made of …

Pure electricity

<b>The University of California, Irvine is poised to be the first college campus in the nation to convert its buses to an all-electric fleet. The student-funded and -operated Anteater Express shuttle service is acquiring 20 buses from BYD (Build Your Dreams) for $15 million.</b><p>The vehicles are being …

UC sustainability in 2016: Big progress, tough challenges

UC sustainability highlightsHighlights from the 2016 Annual Report on Sustainable Practices include:• <b>Waste.</b> In 2015-2016, 69 percent of waste was diverted from landfills. UC sends 198 pounds per person to landfills per year, 26 percent less than other comparable universities.• <b><br>Renewable energy.</b> The …

Think States Alone Can’t Handle Sea Level Rise? Watch California

Last March, a paper by a geoscientist named Rob DeConto came out in <i>Nature</i>. And as far as geology papers go, it was a big deal: It outlined a new …

Climate Change

Swarm of underwater robots mimics ocean life

<b>Underwater robots developed by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego offer scientists an extraordinary new tool to study ocean currents and the tiny creatures they transport. Swarms of these underwater robots helped answer some basic questions</b> …

New technology will cut plug-in hybrid fuel consumption by one-third

<b>Engineers at the University of California, Riverside have taken inspiration from biological evolution and the energy savings garnered by birds flying in formation to improve the efficiency of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) by more than 30 percent.</b><p>Titled “Development and evaluation of an …

Butterfly for science, beer for bragging

<b>You can contribute to science and win a pitcher of beer by competing in Professor Art Shapiro’s “Beer for a Butterfly” contest, now in its 46th year. The object: Catch the first cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) of the new year in Yolo, Sacramento or Solano counties.</b><p>Shapiro, distinguished …

What’s the best electric car for you? Take this app for a test drive

<b>If you’re thinking of buying a new car, there’s a decent chance you’re considering trying something greener. There’s also a decent chance that some concern, big or small, has you hitting the brakes when it comes to buying an electric car.</b><p>Maybe you think that you’ll be tethered to charging stations …

Electric Vehicles

Drought strikes centuries-old California oaks

<b>The most severe drought in living memory did a number on California’s blue oaks. A new study by UC Berkeley researchers shows how even centuries-old trees struggled when landscape water disappeared between 2012 and 2015.</b><p>Some showed stress by producing miniature leaves, some by shedding leaves, and …

Drought

UCLA's hummingbird whisperer

<b>Ask UCLA assistant researcher Melanie Barboni about volcanic eruptions and methods for assessing hazardous volcanic activity, and she might give you some scientific details about the Soufriére volcanic reservoir on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia that she has studied. Ask her about the moon,</b> …

Nature

The fish that adapts to lethal levels of pollution

Quick summary• Atlantic killifish have adapted to levels of pollutants that would normally kill them<br>• The killifish is up to 8,000 times more resistant to pollution than other fish<br>• Extremely high levels of genetic variation account for remarkably fast adaptation<p><b>Evolution is working hard to rescue some</b> …

Biology

Why the Automotive Future Will Be Dominated by Fuel Cells

Range, adaptability, and refueling time will put hydrogen fuel cells ahead of the competition Photo: Toyota Photo: iStockphoto <b>Fill ’er Up:</b> Refueling …

Hydrogen

Chilling climate revelations from a previous ice age

<b>About 14,000 years ago, the southwest United States was lush and green, home to saber-toothed cats and mammoths. Meanwhile, the Pacific Northwest was mostly grassland.</b><p>That all changed as the last ice age was ending. Climate changes might be expected with the melt of a global freeze, but what’s …

Climate Change

Why do seabirds eat plastic? The answer stinks

If it smells like food, and looks like food, it must be food, right?<p>Not in the case of ocean-faring birds that are sometimes found with bellies full of plastic. But very little research examines why birds make the mistake of eating plastic in the first place.<p>It turns out that marine plastic debris …

Grad student’s water-mapping work leads to national recognition

UC Merced graduate student Lorenzo Booth’s research into more efficient use of water for agriculture has earned him accolades from the American Water Resources Association for not only producing information, but presenting solutions.<p>“If we can make the process of growing food more efficient and …

UC president tours Bodega Marine Lab and Reserve

University of California President Janet Napolitano visited Bodega Marine Laboratory and Bodega Marine Reserve to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Together, these sites are considered the premier place to conduct coastal and marine research in northern California.<p>The president was joined by lab …

Greenhouse gases played role in record-low 2015 snowpacks

<b>For perennially drought-stricken California, a new study from professors at UCLA and Oregon State University, shows cause for alarm surrounding the record-low snowpack levels of 2015.</b><p>The researchers attribute the low snowpack levels to high temperatures caused by both greenhouse gases and, in some …