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Environmental Management

Sound management of the environment is a national priority. This priority has resulted in the need to develop cost-effective processes for the remediation of sites contaminated in the past, the implementation of innovative strategies for the management of solid waste, and the production processes that include means for waste reduction. Many of these needs are being met by the STCs collaborating with industry.

The Center for Microbial Ecology provides knowledge transfer activities for businesses to develop strategies for environmental management. Sponsored by Proctor & Gamble, one center program is developing artificial intelligence software that assesses the biodegradability of chemicals used in consumer products and provides testing guidelines. A project with the Dow Chemical Company investigates how microbial community diversity is related to the stability and function of waste water treatment systems and to the impact of treatment plants on their surrounding ecosystems. The center works with industry and government to develop and implement composting technologies as waste management alternatives. Researchers have also collaborated on the Environmental Protection Agency's Bioremediation Field Initiative Program to assess the fate of contaminants that leach into groundwater from municipal landfills.

Natural Disaster Prediction

The destructive forces of nature impact communities economically as well as pysically. Storms, earthquakes, and other natural disasters shape the physical world where people live and business is conducted. The STCs developing storm and earthquake prediction methods attempt to determine the physical basis of these forces and develop technology to mitigate their effects on the environment. In addition to industry, these centers collaborate with government agencies, policy makers, and emergency preparedness officials.

At the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms (CAPS), several companies are using and evaluating the CAPS storm forecast model as a computer tool for atmospheric applications. With accurate regional forecasts, commercial airlines, power utilities, and communications providers could save millions of dollars each year in revenues presently lost to weather-related delays or damages. As a result of this model for massively parallel computers, CAPS will take part in an international consortium called Real Applications on Parallel Systems. Membership includes private sector, government, and university-based groups. The Center for Clouds, Chemistry, and Climate performs research in areas useful to manufacturers of climate and weather probes, and is developing a new generation of remote sensing instruments that will influence satellite manufactures.

The Southern California Earthquake Center provides emergency service officials, public works agencies, and the private sector with improved methodologies for forecasting future earthquakes and their effects on the infrastructure and population of southern California. Information from earth scientists and geotechnical engineers at the center aids in the design of buildings and other structures to make them less vulnerable to earthquakes. Methods and technologies developed by the center can then be applied to other earthquake-prone areas. Improved understanding translates into tremendous savings in damage control and lives.

Research Collaboration in Leading-Edge Technologies

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