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Climate Solutions

Aerial view of ocean at West Cliff Dr, looking inland with UCSC in the distance

Baskin Engineering researchers are leading major projects to address climate crisis issues, including green computing, conservation genomics, more efficient greenhouses, smart power, climate-wise agricultural technology, wildfire management and more. These initiatives leverage engineering expertise and partnerships to provide meaningful contributions that are improving our resilience to climate change. Innovative technical solutions are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, helping communities adapt, and providing a deeper understanding of the impacts of climate change.

Engineering faculty take on innovative climate resilience projects

Understanding the threat of sea level rise is crucial for protecting coastal areas. This project will employ a machine learning-based algorithm to analyze changes in the Santa Cruz shoreline and nearshore dynamics such as rip currents using video from a network of webcams in the study area. The shoreline data captured at various time scales and rip current occurrence data can be used for climate modeling, prediction, and policy making, such as long-term studies on sea level rise and rip currents to help with beach safety. The software will be open source so it can be replicated for other settings and extended for future projects.

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Alex Pang's hands holding shoreline monitor camera
Gregory Gilbert checking leaves in greenhouse

Leaf wetness sensor will enable better plant disease forecasting and management

Plant diseases limit the output of agricultural workers and cause hundreds of billions of dollars in global crop production loss each year.

Ice floes in the Arctic

Study shows significant decline of snow cover in the Northern hemisphere over the last half century

Snow cover plays a major role in global energy balance, continental thermal stability, and regional temperatures.

Jason Eshraghian

SpikeGPT: researcher releases code for largest-ever spiking neural network for language generation

Using neuromorphic (“brain-like”) computer architectures to imitate the computational principles of the brain and drive down the energy cost of artificially intelligent systems.

Field of crops at UCSC farm

Innovative climate resilience projects supported by 2022 CITRIS Campus Seed Funding awards

Grants will fund research on green hydrogen, robotic ecological monitoring, self-driving electric tractors, and a no-waste home water system.

Shiva Abbaszadeh

Multidisciplinary team will develop advanced rhizosphere carbon imaging for climate change research with support of major DOE grant

Researchers are focused on exploring the ongoing debate surrounding the rhizosphere’s contribution to the global carbon cycle.

Aerial view of the Monterey Bay from Twin Gates in Santa Cruz

A new project will develop safer, highly accurate GPS alternative

Developing a resilient system in rural forested territory will improve tracking and navigation of aerial vehicles for search-and-rescue, emergency services, and more.

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Tractor in agricultural field

AgTech

Innovations in agricultural technology that contribute to addressing climate impacts and supporting sustainability are examples of Baskin School of Engineering’s priority of developing technology for societal benefit and UC Santa Cruz’s long history of thoughtful leadership in agroecology and sustainable food systems.

Green digital topographical map

Green computing

Smart innovations, like spiking neural networks that emulate the brain and biological systems to process information more efficiently, are addressing the environmental impact of the energy demands of AI-related neural networks and large language models.

Aerial of UCSC solar panels

Smart power

Baskin Engineering researchers are developing innovative strategies to optimize energy efficiency and sustainability in power systems by integrating artificial intelligence and data analytics technologies, as well as new materials and hardware solutions.