UC Irvine received a $2-million grant Monday that will be used to build a cutting-edge facility dedicated to carbon research on global warming, a first of its kind in the nation.
The grant is the second largest in the history of the School of Physical Sciences.
“It’s very, very gratifying and exciting,” said UCI Chancellor Ralph J. Cicerone. “This facility will help scientists answer one of the most important scientific issues of our time: understanding how carbon flows through the air, oceans, soils and plants.”
The W.M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles gave the university the competitive grant. It is exceeded at the school only by a $6-million donation received in July to build a state-of-the-art research facility.
The mass accelerator spectrometry facility will allow researchers to study the environmental processes that determine atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Excessive amounts of carbon dioxide contribute to the greenhouse effect and global warming.
The school’s Department of Earth System Science will establish a regional carbon cycle research center to be used by scientists from UCI, Caltech, Cal State Fullerton, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and elsewhere. Cicerone said he has already received calls from around the world about the project.
The machine will allow researchers to run a larger number of samples at lower cost, which will dramatically hasten critical research.
“We’ll be on the map, right out in front for this kind of work,” Cicerone said.
The facility, which will be operational early next year, will be overseen by UCI researchers Ellen Druffel and Susan Trumbore, along with John Southon of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.