Ask a Caltech Expert: Sustainability
Indrani Graczyk and JT Reager from JPL: How Do Satellites Help Us Make Better Decisions About Water and Drought?
"We are in a golden age of water information for this planet, where we have more information streaming in now from satellites than we've probably ever had at any point in human history. The challenge is just making sense of that data."
Harry Atwater: Can We Power the World with Sunlight?
"I think that it's possible, but it requires a coordinated and concerted effort all the way across the innovation chain, from research and development to deployment and policy. No one thing would allow us to achieve it."
Steven Low and Adam Wierman: Can You Design an Electricity Grid to Run on Renewable Resources?
"The question is when we will hit this wall where the current architecture stops being enough—where power outages start to become more likely, when costs start to go up. Our research is targeted on getting through that wall, breaking down that wall, so that when you get there, you can still progress."
Dianne Newman: How can Microbes Help Create a More Sustainable Future?
"Microbial communities stand to profoundly impact agriculture in a way that could make an outsized contribution to our planet. Whether we will be able to productively harness these communities as the climate changes depends on our ability to understand them in diverse locales and creatively apply our knowledge."
READ MORE: Dianne Newman and Victoria Orphan: Microbes and Climate Change
Jonas Peters: How Can We Make Chemical Manufacturing More Sustainable?
"To make a difference in global sustainability via chemical manufacturing, we want to prioritize. Which chemicals offer the best opportunities? That depends on the scale at which they are produced and how much associated CO2 and other pollutants that production puts in the air."
Tapio Schneider: How Do We Know if Extreme Weather Events Can Be Attributed to Climate Change?
"Extreme-event attribution (EEA)—a branch of climate science that has emerged over the past 20 years—asks the question: How much more or less likely has an extreme event become as a result of climate change?"
Kimberly See: What Comes After Lithium Ion Batteries?
"It would be really great [...] if we could come up with a sustainable and inexpensive energy-storage solution that would propel wind and solar into the same regime of something like coal, which is relatively cheap."
Paul Wennberg: How Do Gas Stoves Affect Health and Indoor Air Quality?
"NO2 comes from burning at higher temperatures and is typically associated with truck and car emissions in the outdoors. Indoors, a gas stove will produce NO2. Electric stoves will generally not generate NO2. That's one of the major contaminants that comes from using gas stoves."
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