Mindy Nicewonger interviewed on KUCI

Dr Melinda Nicewonger loves to engage with people and she loves her work as a earth systems scientist; looking at oceans, atmosphere and land as an inter-disciplinary system. In this podcast she describes her multiple research trips to Antarctica (collecting ice core samples) and her current postdoctoral fellowship at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder, Colorado. She’s a terrific role model for UCI graduate students!

January 14, 2020

Mathieu Morlighem presents data about Antarctic topography

New findings will help scientists predict climate change impact on frozen continent

December 12, 2019

ESS Department declared a 2019 AGU Bridge Program Partner

In its first year, 20% of the 250 active Earth and space science graduate programs in the United States applied for partnership with the program.

December 09, 2019

AGU blog highlights paper headed by ESS alum Hongju Yu

The loss of the ice shelf supporting one of Antarctica’s most vulnerable glaciers could hasten its collapse, a new study finds.

Thwaites Glacier, a sheet of ice about the size of Florida, lies in West Antarctica. Scientists have monitored this region for decades because it contributes about a tenth of current global sea level rise, according to a 2017 study. Researchers attribute the thinning glaciers in this region to warming ocean water in the Amundsen Sea, which intrudes under the glaciers and melts them from beneath.

The new study in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters modeled how much faster Thwaites, one of the region’s largest and fastest-retreating glaciers, would retreat in the absence of its ice shelf — the part of the glacier that floats on top of the sea, supporting the thicker ice behind.

“We think that possibly in a few years or decades, we don’t know yet, the remainder of the ice shelf in front of Thwaites might be gone,” explained Hongju Yu, an assistant specialist at the University of California, Irvine and lead author of the new study.

December 05, 2019

Four ESS Professors named as some of 2019's most highly-cited researchers

This list recognizes world-class researchers selected for their exceptional research performance, demonstrated by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in 'Web of Science'

In ESS, for year 2019 we have four Professors:

Isabella Velicogna
James Randerson
Eric Rignot
Steven Davis

(James Famiglietti has been nominated but no longer has an affiliation with ESS.)

Affiliates with ESS include:
Steven Allison (Affiliate ESS)
Jasper Vrugt (Affiliate ESS)

In total: UCI has thirteen nominees in 2019; one-third is from ESS, with fifty-percent from ESS or affiliated with ESS!

Only three of the nominees from UCI are women; among them is Isabella Velicogna, who has been elected five times in the last six years.

The recognition started in 2001, with the following nominees:

Michael Prather
Ralph Cicerone

This was based on the highest number of citations.
In 2014, the rules changed to nominate fellows with the most citations in the last decade (instead of their entire career).

Eric Rignot
James Randerson

Isabella Velicogna
Eric Rignot
James Randerson

Isabella Velicogna
Eric Rignot
James Randerson

Eric Rignot
Steve Allison (Affiliate)

Isabella Velicogna
Eric Rignot
James Randerson
Michael Goulden
Steven Allison (Affiliate) Jasper Vrugt (Affiliate)
Isabella Velicogna
Eric Rignot
James Randerson
Steven Davis
Steven Allison (Affiliate)
Jasper Vrugt (Affiliate)

November 25, 2019

ESS is actively recruiting graduate students

The Department of Earth System Science at UC Irvine is recruiting Ph.D. students for our fully-funded doctoral program for Fall 2020. The recommended application deadline is December 1st. After that date, applications will be processed on a rolling admissions basis. The final application deadline is March 15.

The UCI Department of Earth System Science (ESS) is the first U.S. university department to carry the name of “Earth System Science” and to be dedicated exclusively to understanding global environmental change: causes, impacts, solutions. Current departmental research is focused on key areas of environmental and climate science including biogeochemistry of the land, ocean and atmosphere, climate dynamics, atmospheric science, glaciology and cryosphere science, and the global water cycle.

As aligned with the mission of UC Irvine's Office of Inclusive Excellence, the Department of Earth System Science is dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment for all. The UC Irvine campus is proud to be a Minority Serving Institution and we are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion as established through programs such as DECADE. The Department of Earth System Science strongly encourages prospective students with a diverse background to consider applying to our program.

The Department of Earth System Science welcomes applicants from all areas of Earth System Science. We are particularly seeking Ph.D. students in the following subject areas:

Atmospheric chemistry and air/sea gas exchange (Eric Saltzman)
Atmospheric chemistry, climate, and global pollution (Michael Prather)
Atmospheric variability on time scales from weeks to centuries; interactions within the coupled system that improve prediction beyond the weather timescale (Gudrun Magnusdottir)

Biogeochemistry of Arctic tundra (Claudia Czimczik)
Biosphere-atmosphere reactive gas exchange and interactions (Alex Guenther)

Biosphere-atmosphere-human interaction (Saewung Kim)
Climate change impacts on California or boreal ecosystems (Mike Goulden)
Cryosphere and Sea level studies (Isabella Velicogna)
Ecosystem services (Benis Egoh)

El Nino activity; variability in oceans, global monsoons and stormtracks (Jin-Yi Yu)

Food-energy-water nexus (Steven Davis)
Food security and climate change (Nathan Mueller)
Global carbon cycle and ecosystems analysis using satellite observations and earth system models (James Randerson)
Hydrology study using GRACE and other observations (Isabella Velicogna)
Ice-ocean interaction, modeling and remote sensing (Eric Rignot)
Ice-sheet and glacier dynamics, mass balance, and data science (Eric Rignot)

Ice dynamics and interactions with the climate system, using new generation numerical models (Mathieu Morlighem)
Interactions between clouds-turbulence-climate & land-atmosphere; tropical climate dynamics, machine learning, high performance computing, next-gen climate simulation. (Michael Pritchard)

Isotope biogeochemistry of marine organic matter (Ellen Druffel/Brett Walker Lab)
Light-pollution, cryosphere-surface interactions, data science (Charlie Zender)
Management of Human-Impacted ecosystems (Steven Allison and Mike Goulden)
Marine biogeochemistry and phytoplankton biogeography (Katherine Mackey and Adam Martiny)

Microbial and soil carbon modeling (Steven Allison)
Ocean-atmosphere gas exchange (Eric Saltzman)
Ocean biogeochemistry and climate (Katherine Mackey, Adam Martiny, Keith Moore, François Primeau)
Paleoclimate of Mexico and/or Southeast Asia using geochemistry of speleothems (cave formations) (Kathleen Johnson)

Polar ice cores, climate, and atmospheric trace gas histories (Eric Saltzman)

Tropical ecology, forest degradation (Paulo Brando)


November 19, 2019

OMG Project featured in award-winning VICE News Tonight report

GREENLAND — This summer, a chunk of ice the size of lower Manhattan broke off of a glacier in Eastern Greenland. It contained 10 billion tons of ice, making the video of the event an insanely shareable capsule of climate change dread. But for NASA scientists, the spectacle created by these massive calving events is really just the final step in a far more worrisome — and less visible — process.

That's because glacial melt isn’t just the result of our planet’s warming air. The biggest threat to these glaciers’ continued existence resides deep below the water’s surface.

Unlike most other bodies of water, the ocean surrounding Greenland gets warmer with increasing depth. That’s because warm, salty currents from the Atlantic are heavier than fresh glacial water, so those currents end up on the bottom. And that’s what’s got scientists’ attention: our oceans absorb the heat trapped by greenhouse gases, so they’re getting warmer, and as they do, Greenland’s biggest, deepest glaciers are interacting with them — and melting at increasing speeds.

To understand this better, NASA has been sending planes and boats to Greenland in an effort to map the ocean floor. What they're seeing isn't good.

“We'll have to revise our sea level projections upward, and that's scary,” said NASA climate scientist Josh Willis, who cautioned that they're still in the early days of the ocean mapping mission, dubbed “Oceans Melting Greenland” — or "OMG". "If we're reshaping the coastline in a radical way, you know do you want to take out a 30-year mortgage on a house that might be flooded in 30 years? And so it's real and it's time to start dealing with it."

VICE News Tonight travelled to Greenland to visit Eric Rignot, a NASA researcher who sails the iceberg-infested waters in the hopes of figuring out how fast Greenland’s glaciers are melting — and how much trouble we’re really in.

November 13, 2019

Magnusdottir Research Group's paper spotlighted in EOS

Getting the polar stratosphere right is critical in the simulation of North Atlantic climate change, which is shaped by the interaction of Arctic Amplification and tropical upper tropospheric warming.

November 13, 2019


Elliot McCollum
Department Assistant
(949) 824-8497