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Atmosphere and Energy

Our climate and the air we breathe are affected by, and in turn affect, energy use and production through a complex set of processes. By analyzing those processes, we aim to gain a deeper understanding of the atmosphere and then design cleaner and more efficient energy systems, improving our health and environment and providing energy security for all.

The Atmosphere/Energy subprogram in Civil and Environmental Engineering, formed in 2004, combines atmospheric science with energy science and engineering. The program aims educate students and the public through courses, research and public outreach, about the causes of climate change, air pollution and weather problems, as well as about methods of addressing these problems through renewable and efficient energy systems. In addition, students learn about feedbacks between the atmosphere and renewable energy systems and the effects of the current energy infrastructure on the atmosphere.

Further Employment and Research

Our graduates of the program go on to work for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), companies, government agencies, public or private institutes, national research laboratories or educational institutes. Research is performed primarily at the PhD level, although MS and undergraduate students can become involved through a directed research course for credit, a student group or by working with a company on a research topic.

Atmospheric Research

Atmospheric research involves laboratory work, field measurements or three-dimensional computer modeling of the combined atmosphere, ocean and land surface. Lab activities may include work such as measuring the properties of organic particulate matter that forms in the atmosphere. In the field, researchers’ activities may include work measuring exposures to secondhand smoke, allergens and emissions from building materials.

Computer modeling is performed at a variety of spatial scales, from the globe down to the size of a building or smaller. Modeling studies may include examining the effects of air pollution particles on clouds, rainfall, water supply, ultraviolet radiation, the stratospheric ozone layer and climate; simulating the dispersion of toxic contaminants in an urban street canyon; studying the effects of aircraft exhaust and biomass burning on climate; studying the effects of carbon dioxide domes over cities on air pollution mortality, or studying the leading causes of global warming and their impacts.

Energy Research

Our energy research focuses on examining the resource availability of renewable energies such as wind, solar and wave, and studying optimal methods of combining renewable energies to match energy supply with instantaneous demand.

This type of work is generally done through a combination of data analysis, three-dimensional atmospheric computer modeling of wind, solar, wave and hydroelectric power resources, and transmission load flow computer modeling. The research has led to the world's first wind map from data based on the height of modern wind turbines.

Other energy research, performed through three-dimensional computer modeling, focuses on studies such as examining the effect of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on air pollution and the ozone layer, the effects of ethanol and diesel vehicles on air quality and climate,  the feedback of wind turbines to the atmosphere and the effects of climate change on wind and solar energy resources.

Stanford professor’s calculations indicate that wildfires and other types of fires involving plant matter play a much bigger role in climate change and human health than previously thought.

Consulting Professor
Consulting Associate Professor

New research outlines the path to a possible future for California in which renewable energy creates a healthier environment, generates jobs and stabilizes energy prices.

Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy
Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 00:15
Y2E2 Rm 299

Free

Mary Cameron, Dept. Civil & Environmental Engineering, Stanford University
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 00:15
Y2E2 Rm 300

Free

Teddy Kisch,
Project Manager,
Energy Solutions


 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 00:15
Y2E2 Rm 300

Free

Karin Corfee, Energy Practice Managing Director, Navigant Consulting Inc.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 00:15
Y2E2 Rm 299

Free

Dr. Johannes Spinneken,
Director of Education,

MSc Sustainable Energy Futures

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